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J Virol. 2011 Jun;85(11):5571-80. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01933-10. Epub 2011 Mar 16.

The capsid-binding nucleolar helicase DDX56 is important for infectivity of West Nile virus.

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Department of Cell Biology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


Recent findings suggest that in addition to its role in packaging genomic RNA, the West Nile virus (WNV) capsid protein is an important pathogenic determinant, a scenario that requires interaction of this viral protein with host cell proteins. We performed an extensive multitissue yeast two-hybrid screen to identify capsid-binding proteins in human cells. Here we describe the interaction between WNV capsid and the nucleolar RNA helicase DDX56/NOH61. Coimmunoprecipitation confirmed that capsid protein binds to DDX56 in infected cells and that this interaction is not dependent upon intact RNA. Interestingly, WNV infection induced the relocalization of DDX56 from the nucleolus to a compartment in the cytoplasm that also contained capsid protein. This phenomenon was apparently specific for WNV, as DDX56 remained in the nucleoli of cells infected with rubella and dengue 2 viruses. Further analyses showed that DDX56 is not required for replication of WNV; however, virions secreted from DDX56-depleted cells contained less viral RNA and were 100 times less infectious. Together, these data suggest that DDX56 is required for assembly of infectious WNV particles.

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