Membrane binding and rearrangement by chikungunya virus capping enzyme nsP1

Keerthi Gottipati, Michael Woodson, Kyung H. Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Alphavirus genome replication is carried out by the viral replication complex inside modified membrane structures called spherules. The viral nonstructural protein 1 (nsP1) is the only membrane-associated protein that anchors the replication complex to the cellular membranes. Although an internal amphipathic helix of nsP1 is critical for membrane association, the mechanism of nsP1 interaction with membranes and subsequent membrane reorganization is not well understood. We studied the membrane interaction of chikungunya virus (CHIKV) nsP1 and show that both the CHIKV nsP1 protein and the amphipathic peptide specifically bind to negatively charged phospholipid vesicles. Using cryo-electron microscopy, we further show that nsP1 forms a contiguous coat on lipid vesicles and induces structural reorganization, while the amphipathic peptide alone failed to deform the membrane bilayer. This suggests that although amphipathic helix of nsP1 is required for initial membrane binding, the remaining cytoplasmic domain of nsP1 is involved in the subsequent membrane reorganization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-41
Number of pages11
StatePublished - May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Alphavirus
  • Chikungunya virus
  • Lipid nanotube
  • Liposome
  • Membrane rearrangement
  • Membrane-binding peptide
  • Non-structural protein 1
  • Spherule
  • nsP1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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