skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Thursday, May 23 until 2:00 AM ET on Friday, May 24 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Title: The Multifunctional Long-Distance Movement Protein of Pea Enation Mosaic Virus 2 Protects Viral and Host Transcripts from Nonsense-Mediated Decay
ABSTRACT The nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) pathway presents a challenge for RNA viruses with termination codons that precede extended 3′ untranslated regions (UTRs). The umbravirus Pea enation mosaic virus 2 (PEMV2) is a nonsegmented, positive-sense RNA virus with an unusually long 3′ UTR that is susceptible to NMD. To establish a systemic infection, the PEMV2 long-distance movement protein p26 was previously shown to both stabilize viral RNAs and bind them for transport through the plant’s vascular system. The current study demonstrated that p26 protects both viral and nonviral messenger RNAs from NMD. Although p26 localizes to both the cytoplasm and nucleolus, p26 exerts its anti-NMD effects exclusively in the cytoplasm independently of long-distance movement. Using a transcriptome-wide approach in the model plant Nicotiana benthamiana , p26 protected a subset of cellular NMD target transcripts, particularly those containing long, structured, GC-rich 3′ UTRs. Furthermore, transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) revealed that the NMD pathway is highly dysfunctional during PEMV2 infection, with 1,820 (48%) of NMD targets increasing in abundance. Widespread changes in the host transcriptome are common during plant RNA virus infections, and these results suggest that, in at least some instances, virus-mediated NMD inhibition may be a major contributing factor. IMPORTANCE Nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) represents an RNA regulatory pathway that degrades both natural and faulty messenger RNAs with long 3′ untranslated regions. NMD targets diverse families of RNA viruses, requiring that viruses counteract the NMD pathway for successful amplification in host cells. A protein required for long-distance movement of Pea enation mosaic virus 2 (PEMV2) is shown to also protect both viral and host mRNAs from NMD. RNA-seq analyses of the Nicotiana benthamiana transcriptome revealed that PEMV2 infection significantly impairs the host NMD pathway. RNA viruses routinely induce large-scale changes in host gene expression, and, like PEMV2, may use NMD inhibition to alter the host transcriptome in an effort to increase virus amplification.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ;
Palese, Peter
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. The 3′ untranslated regions (UTRs) of positive-strand RNA plant viruses commonly contain elements that promote viral replication and translation. The ~700 nt 3′UTR of umbravirus pea enation mosaic virus 2 (PEMV2) contains three 3′ cap-independent translation enhancers (3′CITEs), including one (PTE) found in members of several genera in the family Tombusviridae and another (the 3′TSS) found in numerous umbraviruses and several carmoviruses. In addition, three 3′ terminal replication elements are found in nearly every umbravirus and carmovirus. For this report, we have identified a set of three hairpins and a putative pseudoknot, collectively termed “Trio”, that are exclusively found in a subset of umbraviruses and are located just upstream of the 3′TSS. Modification of these elements had no impact on viral translation in wheat germ extracts or in translation of luciferase reporter constructs in vivo. In contrast, Trio hairpins were critical for viral RNA accumulation in Arabidopsis thaliana protoplasts and for replication of a non-autonomously replicating replicon using a trans-replication system in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. Trio and other 3′ terminal elements involved in viral replication are highly conserved in umbraviruses possessing different classes of upstream 3′CITEs, suggesting conservation of replication mechanisms among umbraviruses despite variation in mechanisms for translation enhancement. 
    more » « less
  2. Dutch, Rebecca Ellis (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Translation of plant plus-strand RNA viral genomes that lack a 5′ cap frequently requires the use of cap-independent translation enhancers (CITEs) located in or near the 3′ untranslated region (UTR). 3′CITEs are grouped based on secondary structure and ability to interact with different translation initiation factors or ribosomal subunits, which assemble a complex at the 3′ end that is nearly always transferred to the 5′ end via a long-distance kissing-loop interaction between sequences in the 3′CITE and 5′ hairpins. We report here the identification of a novel 3′CITE in coat protein-deficient RNA replicons that are related to umbraviruses. Umbra-like associated RNAs (ulaRNAs), such as citrus yellow vein-associated virus (CYVaV), are a new type of subviral RNA that do not encode movement proteins, coat proteins, or silencing suppressors but can independently replicate using their encoded RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. An extended hairpin structure containing multiple internal loops in the 3′ UTR of CYVaV is strongly conserved in the most closely related ulaRNAs and structurally resembles an I-shaped structure (ISS) 3′CITE. However, unlike ISS, the CYVaV structure binds to eIF4G and no long-distance interaction is discernible between the CYVaV ISS-like structure and sequences at or near the 5′ end. We also report that the ∼30-nucleotide (nt) 5′ terminal hairpin of CYVaV and related ulaRNAs can enhance translation of reporter constructs when associated with either the CYVaV 3′CITE or the 3′CITEs of umbravirus pea enation mosaic virus (PEMV2) and even independent of a 3′CITE. These findings introduce a new type of 3′CITE and provide the first information on translation of ulaRNAs. IMPORTANCE Umbra-like associated RNAs (ulaRNAs) are a recently discovered type of subviral RNA that use their encoded RNA-dependent RNA polymerase for replication but do not encode any coat proteins, movement proteins, or silencing suppressors yet can be found in plants in the absence of any discernible helper virus. We report the first analysis of their translation using class 2 ulaRNA citrus yellow vein-associated virus (CYVaV). CYVaV uses a novel eIF4G-binding I-shaped structure as its 3′ cap-independent translation enhancer (3′CITE), which does not connect with the 5′ end by a long-distance RNA:RNA interaction that is typical of 3′CITEs. ulaRNA 5′ terminal hairpins can also enhance translation in association with cognate 3′CITEs or those of related ulaRNAs and, to a lesser extent, with 3′CITEs of umbraviruses, or even independent of a 3′CITE. These findings introduce a new type of 3′CITE and provide the first information on translation of ulaRNAs. 
    more » « less
  3. The cap-independent translation of plus-strand RNA plant viruses frequently depends on 3′ structures to attract translation initiation factors that bind ribosomal subunits or bind directly to ribosomes. Umbraviruses are excellent models for studying 3′ cap-independent translation enhancers (3′CITEs), as umbraviruses can have different 3′CITEs in the central region of their lengthy 3′UTRs, and most also have a particular 3′CITE (the T-shaped structure or 3′TSS) near their 3′ ends. We discovered a novel hairpin just upstream of the centrally located (known or putative) 3′CITEs in all 14 umbraviruses. These CITE-associated structures (CASs) have conserved sequences in their apical loops and at the stem base and adjacent positions. In 11 umbraviruses, CASs are preceded by two small hairpins joined by a putative kissing loop interaction (KL). Converting the conserved 6-nt apical loop to a GNRA tetraloop in opium poppy mosaic virus (OPMV) and pea enation mosaic virus 2 (PEMV2) enhanced translation of genomic (g)RNA, but not subgenomic (sg)RNA reporter constructs, and significantly repressed virus accumulation in Nicotiana benthamiana. Other alterations throughout OPMV CAS also repressed virus accumulation and only enhanced sgRNA reporter translation, while mutations in the lower stem repressed gRNA reporter translation. Similar mutations in the PEMV2 CAS also repressed accumulation but did not significantly affect gRNA or sgRNA reporter translation, with the exception of deletion of the entire hairpin, which only reduced translation of the gRNA reporter. OPMV CAS mutations had little effect on the downstream BTE 3′CITE or upstream KL element, while PEMV2 CAS mutations significantly altered KL structures. These results introduce an additional element associated with different 3′CITEs that differentially affect the structure and translation of different umbraviruses. 
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    In eukaryotic messenger RNAs, the 5′ cap structure binds to the translation initiation factor 4E to facilitate early stages of translation. Although many plant viruses lack the 5′ cap structure, some contain cap-independent translation elements (CITEs) in their 3′ untranslated region. The PTE (Panicum mosaic virus translation element) class of CITEs contains a G-rich asymmetric bulge and a C-rich helical junction that were proposed to interact via formation of a pseudoknot. SHAPE analysis of PTE homologs reveals a highly reactive guanosine residue within the G-rich region proposed to mediate eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) recognition. Here we have obtained the crystal structure of the PTE from Pea enation mosaic virus 2 (PEMV2) RNA in complex with our structural chaperone, Fab BL3–6. The structure reveals that the G-rich and C-rich regions interact through a complex network of interactions distinct from those expected for a pseudoknot. The motif, which contains a short parallel duplex, provides a structural mechanism for how the guanosine is extruded from the core stack to enable eIF4E recognition. Homologous PTE elements harbor a G-rich bulge and a three-way junction and exhibit covariation at crucial positions, suggesting that the PEMV2 tertiary architecture is conserved among these homologs.

    more » « less
  5. Simon, Anne E. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) of virus origin accumulate in cells infected by many positive-strand (+) RNA viruses to bolster viral infectivity. Their biogenesis mostly utilizes exoribonucleases of host cells that degrade viral genomic or subgenomic RNAs in the 5′-to-3′ direction until being stalled by well-defined RNA structures. Here, we report a viral lncRNA that is produced by a novel replication-dependent mechanism. This lncRNA corresponds to the last 283 nucleotides of the turnip crinkle virus (TCV) genome and hence is designated tiny TCV subgenomic RNA (ttsgR). ttsgR accumulated to high levels in TCV-infected Nicotiana benthamiana cells when the TCV-encoded RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), also known as p88, was overexpressed. Both (+) and (−) strand forms of ttsgR were produced in a manner dependent on the RdRp functionality. Strikingly, templates as short as ttsgR itself were sufficient to program ttsgR amplification, as long as the TCV-encoded replication proteins p28 and p88 were provided in trans . Consistent with its replicational origin, ttsgR accumulation required a 5′ terminal carmovirus consensus sequence (CCS), a sequence motif shared by genomic and subgenomic RNAs of many viruses phylogenetically related to TCV. More importantly, introducing a new CCS motif elsewhere in the TCV genome was alone sufficient to cause the emergence of another lncRNA. Finally, abolishing ttsgR by mutating its 5′ CCS gave rise to a TCV mutant that failed to compete with wild-type TCV in Arabidopsis . Collectively, our results unveil a replication-dependent mechanism for the biogenesis of viral lncRNAs, thus suggesting that multiple mechanisms, individually or in combination, may be responsible for viral lncRNA production. IMPORTANCE Many positive-strand (+) RNA viruses produce long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) during the process of cellular infections and mobilize these lncRNAs to counteract antiviral defenses, as well as coordinate the translation of viral proteins. Most viral lncRNAs arise from 5′-to-3′ degradation of longer viral RNAs being stalled at stable secondary structures. Here, we report a viral lncRNA that is produced by the replication machinery of turnip crinkle virus (TCV). This lncRNA, designated ttsgR, shares the terminal characteristics with TCV genomic and subgenomic RNAs and overaccumulates in the presence of moderately overexpressed TCV RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp). Furthermore, templates that are of similar sizes as ttsgR are readily replicated by TCV replication proteins (p28 and RdRp) provided from nonviral sources. In summary, this study establishes an approach for uncovering low abundance viral lncRNAs, and characterizes a replicating TCV lncRNA. Similar investigations on human-pathogenic (+) RNA viruses could yield novel therapeutic targets. 
    more » « less