Flavivirus NS1 is a nonstructural glycoprotein that is expressed on the cell surface and secreted into the extracellular space. Despite its transit through the secretory pathway, NS1 is an essential gene linked to early viralRNAreplication.Howthis occurs has remained a mystery given the disparate localization of NS1 and the viralRNAreplication complex, as the latter is present on the cytosolic face of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER).Werecently identified an N-terminal di-amino acid motif in NS1 that modulates protein targeting and affected viral replication. Exchange of two amino acids at positions 10 and 11 from dengue virus (DENV) into West Nile virus (WNV) NS1 (RQ10NK) changed its relative surface expression and secretion and attenuated infectivity. However, the phenotype of WNVcontaining NS1 RQ10NK was unstable, as within two passages heterogeneous plaque variants were observed. Here, using a mutantWNVencoding the NS1 RQ10NK mutation, we identified a suppressor mutation (F86C) in NS4B, a virally encoded transmembrane protein with loops on both the luminal and cytoplasmic sides of the ER membrane. Introduction of NS4B F86C specifically rescuedRNAreplication of mutantWNVbut did not affect the wild-type virus. Mass spectrometry and coimmunoprecipitation studies established a novel physical interaction between NS1 and NS4B, suggesting a mechanism for how luminal NS1 conveys signals to the cytoplasm to regulateRNAreplication.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science