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  1. Wang, Aiming (Ed.)

    It has been 49 years since the last discovery of a new virus family in the model yeastSaccharomyces cerevisiae. A large-scale screen to determine the diversity of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) viruses inS.cerevisiaehas identified multiple novel viruses from the familyPartitiviridaethat have been previously shown to infect plants, fungi, protozoans, and insects. MostS.cerevisiaepartitiviruses (ScPVs) are associated with strains of yeasts isolated from coffee and cacao beans. The presence of partitiviruses was confirmed by sequencing the viral dsRNAs and purifying and visualizing isometric, non-enveloped viral particles. ScPVs have a typical bipartite genome encoding an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) and a coat protein (CP). Phylogenetic analysis of ScPVs identified three species of ScPV, which are most closely related to viruses of the genusCryspovirusfrom the mammalian pathogenic protozoanCryptosporidium parvum. Molecular modeling of the ScPV RdRP revealed a conserved tertiary structure and catalytic site organization when compared to the RdRPs of thePicornaviridae. The ScPV CP is the smallest so far identified in thePartitiviridaeand has structural homology with the CP of other partitiviruses but likely lacks a protrusion domain that is a conspicuous feature of other partitivirus particles. ScPVs were stably maintained during laboratory growth and were successfully transferred to haploid progeny after sporulation, which provides future opportunities to study partitivirus-host interactions using the powerful genetic tools available for the model organismS.cerevisiae.

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  2. Wang, Aiming (Ed.)

    Viruses are constantly subject to natural selection to enrich beneficial mutations and weed out deleterious ones. However, it remains unresolved as to how the phenotypic gains or losses brought about by these mutations cause the viral genomes carrying the very mutations to become more or less numerous. Previous investigations by us and others suggest that viruses with plus strand (+) RNA genomes may compel such selection by bottlenecking the replicating genome copies in each cell to low single digits. Nevertheless, it is unclear if similarly stringent reproductive bottlenecks also occur in cells invaded by DNA viruses. Here we investigated whether tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), a small virus with a single-stranded DNA genome, underwent population bottlenecking in cells of its host plants. We engineered a TYLCV genome to produce two replicons that express green fluorescent protein and mCherry, respectively, in a replication-dependent manner. We found that among the cells entered by both replicons, less than 65% replicated both, whereas at least 35% replicated either of them alone. Further probability computation concluded that replication in an average cell was unlikely to have been initiated with more than three replicon genome copies. Furthermore, sequential inoculations unveiled strong mutual exclusions of these two replicons at the intracellular level. In conclusion, the intracellular population of the small DNA virus TYLCV is actively bottlenecked, and such bottlenecking may be a virus-encoded, evolutionarily conserved trait that assures timely selection of new mutations emerging through error-prone replication.

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  3. Wang, Aiming (Ed.)
    Tombusviruses, similar to other (+)RNA viruses, exploit the host cells by co-opting numerous host components and rewiring cellular pathways to build extensive virus-induced replication organelles (VROs) in the cytosol of the infected cells. Most molecular resources are suboptimal in susceptible cells and therefore, tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) drives intensive remodeling and subversion of many cellular processes. The authors discovered that the nuclear centromeric CenH3 histone variant (Cse4p in yeast, CENP-A in humans) plays a major role in tombusvirus replication in plants and in the yeast model host. We find that over-expression of CenH3 greatly interferes with tombusvirus replication, whereas mutation or knockdown of CenH3 enhances TBSV replication in yeast and plants. CenH3 binds to the viral RNA and acts as an RNA chaperone. Although these data support a restriction role of CenH3 in tombusvirus replication, we demonstrate that by partially sequestering CenH3 into VROs, TBSV indirectly alters selective gene expression of the host, leading to more abundant protein pool. This in turn helps TBSV to subvert pro-viral host factors into replication. We show this through the example of hypoxia factors, glycolytic and fermentation enzymes, which are exploited more efficiently by tombusviruses to produce abundant ATP locally within the VROs in infected cells. Altogether, we propose that subversion of CenH3/Cse4p from the nucleus into cytosolic VROs facilitates transcriptional changes in the cells, which ultimately leads to more efficient ATP generation in situ within VROs by the co-opted glycolytic enzymes to support the energy requirement of virus replication. In summary, CenH3 plays both pro-viral and restriction functions during tombusvirus replication. This is a surprising novel role for a nuclear histone variant in cytosolic RNA virus replication. 
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  4. Wang, Aiming (Ed.)
    Positive-strand (+)RNA viruses take advantage of the host cells by subverting a long list of host protein factors and transport vesicles and cellular organelles to build membranous viral replication organelles (VROs) that support robust RNA replication. How RNA viruses accomplish major recruitment tasks of a large number of cellular proteins are intensively studied. In case of tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV), a single viral replication protein, named p33, carries out most of the recruitment duties. Yet, it is currently unknown how the viral p33 replication protein, which is membrane associated, is capable of the rapid and efficient recruitment of numerous cytosolic host proteins to facilitate the formation of large VROs. In this paper, we show that, TBSV p33 molecules do not recruit each cytosolic host factor one-by-one into VROs, but p33 targets a cytosolic protein interaction hub, namely Rpn11, which interacts with numerous other cytosolic proteins. The highly conserved Rpn11, called POH1 in humans, is the metalloprotease subunit of the proteasome, which couples deubiquitination and degradation of proteasome substrates. However, TBSV takes advantage of a noncanonical function of Rpn11 by exploiting Rpn11’s interaction with highly abundant cytosolic proteins and the actin network. We provide supporting evidence that the co-opted Rpn11 in coordination with the subverted actin network is used for delivering cytosolic proteins, such as glycolytic and fermentation enzymes, which are readily subverted into VROs to produce ATP locally in support of VRO formation, viral replicase complex assembly and viral RNA replication. Using several approaches, including knockdown of Rpn11 level, sequestering Rpn11 from the cytosol into the nucleus in plants or temperature-sensitive mutation in Rpn11 in yeast, we show the inhibition of recruitment of glycolytic and fermentation enzymes into VROs. The Rpn11-assisted recruitment of the cytosolic enzymes by p33, however, also requires the combined and coordinated role of the subverted actin network. Accordingly, stabilization of the actin filaments by expression of the Legionella VipA effector in yeast and plant, or via a mutation of ACT1 in yeast resulted in more efficient and rapid recruitment of Rpn11 and the selected glycolytic and fermentation enzymes into VROs. On the contrary, destruction of the actin filaments via expression of the Legionella RavK effector led to poor recruitment of Rpn11 and glycolytic and fermentation enzymes. Finally, we confirmed the key roles of Rpn11 and the actin filaments in situ ATP production within TBSV VROs via using a FRET-based ATP-biosensor. The novel emerging theme is that TBSV targets Rpn11 cytosolic protein interaction hub driven by the p33 replication protein and aided by the subverted actin filaments to deliver several co-opted cytosolic pro-viral factors for robust replication within VROs. 
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