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Type: Journal article
Title: Genome-wide mutagenesis of dengue virus reveals plasticity of the NS1 protein and enables generation of infectious tagged reporter viruses
Author: Eyre, N.
Johnson, S.
Eltahla, A.
Aloi, M.
Aloia, A.
McDevitt, C.
Bull, R.
Beard, M.
Citation: Journal of Virology, 2017; 91(23):e01455-17-1-e01455-17-25
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
Issue Date: 2017
ISSN: 0022-538X
Statement of
Nicholas S. Eyre, Stephen M. Johnson, Auda A. Eltahla, Maria Aloi, Amanda L. Aloia, Christopher A. McDevitt, Rowena A. Bull, Michael R. Beard
Abstract: Dengue virus (DENV) is a major global pathogen that causes significant morbidity and mortality in tropical and subtropical areas worldwide. An improved understanding of the regions within the DENV genome and its encoded proteins that are required for the virus replication cycle will expedite the development of urgently required therapeutics and vaccines. We subjected an infectious DENV genome to unbiased insertional mutagenesis and used next-generation sequencing to identify sites that tolerate 15-nucleotide insertions during the virus replication cycle in hepatic cell culture. This revealed that the regions within capsid, NS1, and the 3' untranslated region were the most tolerant of insertions. In contrast, prM- and NS2A-encoding regions were largely intolerant of insertions. Notably, the multifunctional NS1 protein readily tolerated insertions in regions within the Wing, connector, and β-ladder domains with minimal effects on viral RNA replication and infectious virus production. Using this information, we generated infectious reporter viruses, including a variant encoding the APEX2 electron microscopy tag in NS1 that uniquely enabled high-resolution imaging of its localization to the surface and interior of viral replication vesicles. In addition, we generated a tagged virus bearing an mScarlet fluorescent protein insertion in NS1 that, despite an impact on fitness, enabled live cell imaging of NS1 localization and traffic in infected cells. Overall, this genome-wide profile of DENV genome flexibility may be further dissected and exploited in reporter virus generation and antiviral strategies. IMPORTANCE Regions of genetic flexibility in viral genomes can be exploited in the generation of reporter virus tools and should arguably be avoided in antiviral drug and vaccine design. Here, we subjected the DENV genome to high-throughput insertional mutagenesis to identify regions of genetic flexibility and enable tagged reporter virus generation. In particular, the viral NS1 protein displayed remarkable tolerance of small insertions. This genetic flexibility enabled generation of several novel NS1-tagged reporter viruses, including an APEX2-tagged virus that we used in high-resolution imaging of NS1 localization in infected cells by electron microscopy. For the first time, this analysis revealed the localization of NS1 within viral replication factories known as "vesicle packets" (VPs), in addition to its acknowledged localization to the luminal surface of these VPs. Together, this genetic profile of DENV may be further refined and exploited in the identification of antiviral targets and the generation of reporter virus tools.
Keywords: Dengue virus; NS1; mutagenesis; virus replication; virus assembly; electron microscopy
Rights: © 2017 American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
RMID: 0030076471
DOI: 10.1128/jvi.01455-17
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Appears in Collections:Molecular and Biomedical Science publications

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