Mutagenesis of dengue virus protein NS2A revealed a novel domain responsible for virus-induced cytopathic effect and interactions between NS2A and NS2B transmembrane segments

Ren Huang Wu, Ming Han Tsai, Kuen Nan Tsai, Jia Ni Tian, Jian Sung Wu, Su Ying Wu, Jyh Haur Chern, Chun Hong Chen*, Andrew Yueh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

The NS2A protein of dengue virus (DENV) has eight predicted transmembrane segments (pTMS1 to -8) and participates in RNA replication, virion assembly, and host antiviral response. However, the roles of specific amino acid residues within the pTMS regions of NS2A during the viral life cycle are not clear. Here, we explore the function of DENV NS2A by introducing a series of alanine substitutions into the N-terminal half (pTMS1 to -4) of the protein in the context of a DENV infectious clone or subgenomic replicon. Six NS2A mutants (NM5, -7, -9, and -17 to -19) around pTMS1 and -2 displayed a novel phenotype showing a ≥1,000-fold reduction in virus yield, an absence of plaque formation despite wild-type-like replicon activity, and infectious-virus-like particle yields. HEK-293 cells infected with the six NS2A mutant viruses failed to cause a virus-induced cytopathic effect (CPE) by Mito- Capture staining, cell proliferation, and lactate dehydrogenase release assays. Sequencing analyses of pseudorevertant viruses derived from lethal-mutant viruses revealed two consensus reversion mutations, leucine to phenylalanine at codon 181 (L181F) within pTMS7 of NS2A and isoleucine to threonine at codon 114 (I114T) within NS2B. The introduction of an NS2A-L181F mutation into the lethal (NM15, -16, -25, and -33) and CPE-defective (NM7, -9, and -19) mutants substantially rescued virus infectivity and virus-induced CPE, respectively, whereas the NS2B-L114T mutation rescued the NM16, -25, and -33 mutants. In conclusion, the results revealed the essential roles of the N-terminal half of NS2A in RNA replication and virus-induced CPE. Intramolecular interactions between pTMSs of NS2A and intermolecular interactions between the NS2A and NS2B proteins were also implicated.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01836-16
JournalJournal of Virology
Volume91
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2017

Keywords

  • Cytopathic effect
  • Dengue virus
  • Intermolecular interaction
  • RNA replication
  • Scanning mutagenesis
  • Transmembrane segment

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