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  1. Simon, Anne E. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Positive-strand RNA viruses build large viral replication organelles (VROs) with the help of coopted host factors. Previous works on tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) showed that the p33 replication protein subverts the actin cytoskeleton by sequestering the actin depolymerization factor, cofilin, to reduce actin filament disassembly and stabilize the actin filaments. Then, TBSV utilizes the stable actin filaments as “trafficking highways” to deliver proviral host factors into the protective VROs. In this work, we show that the cellular intrinsic restriction factors (CIRFs) also use the actin network to reach VROs and inhibit viral replication. Disruption of the actin filaments by expression of the Legionella RavK protease inhibited the recruitment of plant CIRFs, including the CypA-like Roc1 and Roc2 cyclophilins, and the antiviral DDX17-like RH30 DEAD box helicase into VROs. Conversely, temperature-sensitive actin and cofilin mutant yeasts with stabilized actin filaments reduced the levels of copurified CIRFs, including cyclophilins Cpr1, CypA, Cyp40-like Cpr7, cochaperones Sgt2, the Hop-like Sti1, and the RH30 helicase in viral replicase preparations. Dependence of the recruitment of both proviral and antiviral host factors into VROs on the actin network suggests that there is a race going on between TBSV and its host to exploit the actin network and ultimately to gain the upper hand during infection. We propose that, in the highly susceptible plants, tombusviruses efficiently subvert the actin network for rapid delivery of proviral host factors into VROs and ultimately overcome host restriction factors via winning the recruitment race and overwhelming cellular defenses. IMPORTANCE Replication of positive-strand RNA viruses is affected by the recruitment of host components, which provide either proviral or antiviral functions during virus invasion of infected cells. The delivery of these host factors into the viral replication organelles (VROs), which represent the sites of viral RNA replication, depends on the cellular actin network. Using TBSV, we uncover a race between the virus and its host with the actin network as the central player. We find that in susceptible plants, tombusviruses exploit the actin network for rapid delivery of proviral host factors into VROs and ultimately overcome host restriction factors. In summary, this work demonstrates that the actin network plays a major role in determining the outcome of viral infections in plants. 
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  2. Simon, Anne E. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Regardless of the general model of translation in eukaryotic cells, a number of studies suggested that many mRNAs encode multiple proteins. Leaky scanning, which supplies ribosomes to downstream open reading frames (ORFs) by readthrough of upstream ORFs, has great potential to translate polycistronic mRNAs. However, the mRNA elements controlling leaky scanning and their biological relevance have rarely been elucidated, with exceptions such as the Kozak sequence. Here, we have analyzed the strategy of a plant RNA virus to translate three movement proteins from a single RNA molecule through leaky scanning. The in planta and in vitro results indicate thatthe significantly shorter 5′ untranslated region (UTR) of the most upstream ORF promotes leaky scanning, potentially fine-tuning the translation efficiency of the three proteins in a single RNA molecule to optimize viral propagation. Our results suggest that the remarkably short length of the leader sequence, like the Kozak sequence, is a translational regulatory element with a biologically important role, as previous studies have shown biochemically. IMPORTANCE Potexvirus , a group of plant viruses, infect a variety of crops, including cultivated crops. It has been thought that the three transition proteins that are essential for the cell-to-cell transfer of potexviruses are translated from two subgenomic RNAs, sgRNA1 and sgRNA2. However, sgRNA2 has not been clearly detected. In this study, we have shown that sgRNA1, but not sgRNA2, is the major translation template for the three movement proteins. In addition, we determined the transcription start site of sgRNA1 in flexiviruses and found that the efficiency of leaky scanning caused by the short 5′ UTR of sgRNA1, a widely conserved feature, regulates the translation of the three movement proteins. When we tested the infection of viruses with mutations introduced into the length of the 5′ UTR, we found that the movement efficiency of the virus was affected. Our results provide important additional information on the protein translation strategy of flexiviruses, including Potexvirus , and provide a basis for research on their control as well as the need to reevaluate the short 5′ UTR as a translational regulatory element with an important role in vivo . 
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  3. Simon, Anne E. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Positive-strand RNA viruses induce the biogenesis of unique membranous organelles called viral replication organelles (VROs), which perform virus replication in infected cells. Tombusviruses have been shown to rewire cellular trafficking and metabolic pathways, remodel host membranes, and recruit multiple host factors to support viral replication. In this work, we demonstrate that tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) and the closely related carnation Italian ringspot virus (CIRV) usurp Rab7 small GTPase to facilitate building VROs in the surrogate host yeast and in plants. Depletion of Rab7 small GTPase, which is needed for late endosome and retromer biogenesis, strongly inhibits TBSV and CIRV replication in yeast and in planta. The viral p33 replication protein interacts with Rab7 small GTPase, which results in the relocalization of Rab7 into the large VROs. Similar to the depletion of Rab7, the deletion of either MON1 or CCZ1 heterodimeric GEFs (guanine nucleotide exchange factors) of Rab7 inhibited TBSV RNA replication in yeast. This suggests that the activated Rab7 has proviral functions. We show that the proviral function of Rab7 is to facilitate the recruitment of the retromer complex and the endosomal sorting nexin-BAR proteins into VROs. We demonstrate that TBSV p33-driven retargeting of Rab7 into VROs results in the delivery of several retromer cargos with proviral functions. These proteins include lipid enzymes, such as Vps34 PI3K (phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase), PI4Kα-like Stt4 phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase, and Psd2 phosphatidylserine decarboxylase. In summary, based on these and previous findings, we propose that subversion of Rab7 into VROs allows tombusviruses to reroute endocytic and recycling trafficking to support virus replication. IMPORTANCE The replication of positive-strand RNA viruses depends on the biogenesis of viral replication organelles (VROs). However, the formation of membranous VROs is not well understood yet. Using tombusviruses and the model host yeast, we discovered that the endosomal Rab7 small GTPase is critical for the formation of VROs. Interaction between Rab7 and the TBSV p33 replication protein leads to the recruitment of Rab7 into VROs. TBSV-driven usurping of Rab7 has proviral functions through facilitating the delivery of the co-opted retromer complex, sorting nexin-BAR proteins, and lipid enzymes into VROs to create an optimal milieu for virus replication. These results open up the possibility that controlling cellular Rab7 activities in infected cells could be a target for new antiviral strategies. 
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  4. 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. 
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