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PLoS Pathog. 2008 May 16;4(5):e1000065. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1000065.

Targeting of pseudorabies virus structural proteins to axons requires association of the viral Us9 protein with lipid rafts.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, United States of America.

Abstract

The pseudorabies virus (PRV) Us9 protein plays a central role in targeting viral capsids and glycoproteins to axons of dissociated sympathetic neurons. As a result, Us9 null mutants are defective in anterograde transmission of infection in vivo. However, it is unclear how Us9 promotes axonal sorting of so many viral proteins. It is known that the glycoproteins gB, gC, gD and gE are associated with lipid raft microdomains on the surface of infected swine kidney cells and monocytes, and are directed into the axon in a Us9-dependent manner. In this report, we determined that Us9 is associated with lipid rafts, and that this association is critical to Us9-mediated sorting of viral structural proteins. We used infected non-polarized and polarized PC12 cells, a rat pheochromocytoma cell line that acquires many of the characteristics of sympathetic neurons in the presence of nerve growth factor (NGF). In these cells, Us9 is highly enriched in detergent-resistant membranes (DRMs). Moreover, reducing the affinity of Us9 for lipid rafts inhibited anterograde transmission of infection from sympathetic neurons to epithelial cells in vitro. We conclude that association of Us9 with lipid rafts is key for efficient targeting of structural proteins to axons and, as a consequence, for directional spread of PRV from pre-synaptic to post-synaptic neurons and cells of the mammalian nervous system.

PMID:
18483549
PMCID:
PMC2361720
DOI:
10.1371/journal.ppat.1000065
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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