Mutations in the Schmallenberg virus Gc glycoprotein facilitate cellular protein synthesis shutoff and restore pathogenicity of NSs deletion mutants in mice

Mariana Varela, Rute Maria Pinto, Marco Caporale, Ilaria M. Piras, Aislynn Taggart, Frauke Seehusen, Kerstin Hahn, Anna Janowicz, William Marciel de Souza, Wolfgang Baumgärtner, Xiaohong Shi, Massimo Palmarini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Serial passage of viruses in cell culture has been traditionally used to attenuate virulence and identify determinants of viral pathogenesis. In a previous study, we found that a strain of Schmallenberg virus (SBV) serially passaged in tissue culture (termed SBVp32) unexpectedly displayed increased pathogenicity in suckling mice compared to wild-type SBV. In this study, we mapped the determinants of SBVp32 virulence to the viral genome M segment. SBVp32 virulence is associated with the capacity of this virus to reach high titers in the brains of experimentally infected suckling mice. We also found that the Gc glycoprotein, encoded by the M segment of SBVp32, facilitates host cell protein shutoff in vitro. Interestingly, while the M segment of SBVp32 is a virulence factor, we found that the S segment of the same virus confers by itself an attenuated phenotype to wild-type SBV, as it has lost the ability to block the innate immune system of the host. Single mutations present in the Gc glycoprotein of SBVp32 are sufficient to compensate for both the attenuated phenotype of the SBVp32 S segment and the attenuated phenotype of NSs deletion mutants. Our data also indicate that the SBVp32 M segment does not act as an interferon (IFN) antagonist. Therefore, SBV mutants can retain pathogenicity even when they are unable to fully control the production of IFN by infected cells. Overall, this study suggests that the viral glycoprotein of orthobunyaviruses can compensate, at least in part, for the function of NSs. In addition, we also provide evidence that the induction of total cellular protein shutoff by SBV is determined by multiple viral proteins, while the ability to control the production of IFN maps to the NSs protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5440-5450
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of virology
Volume90
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology

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