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Title: An alphavirus temperature-sensitive capsid mutant reveals stages of nucleocapsid assembly

Alphaviruses have a nucleocapsid core composed of the RNA genome surrounded by an icosahedral lattice of capsid protein. An insertion after position 186 in the capsid protein produced a strongly temperature-sensitive growth phenotype. Even when the structural proteins were synthesized at the permissive temperature (28 °C), subsequent incubation of the cells at the non-permissive temperature (37 °C) dramatically decreased mutant capsid protein stability and particle assembly. Electron microscopy confirmed the presence of cytoplasmic nucleocapsids in mutant-infected cells cultured at the permissive temperature, but these nucleocapsids were not stable to sucrose gradient separation. In contrast, nucleocapsids isolated from mutant virus particles had similar stability to that of wildtype virus. Our data support a model in which cytoplasmic nucleocapsids go through a maturation step during packaging into virus particles. The insertion site lies in the interface between capsid proteins in the assembled nucleocapsid, suggesting the region where such a stabilizing transition occurs. - Highlights: • We characterize an alphavirus capsid insertion mutation. • These capsid mutants are highly temperature sensitive for growth. • The insertion affects nucleocapsid stability. • Results suggest that the nucleocapsid is stabilized during virus budding.
Authors:
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22470195
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Virology; Journal Volume: 484; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2015 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; CELL CULTURES; ELECTRON MICROSCOPY; INCUBATION; MUTANTS; MUTATIONS; PACKAGING; PARTICLES; PHENOTYPE; PLANT GROWTH; PROTEINS; RNA; SACCHAROSE; STABILITY; VIRUSES