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PLoS Pathog. 2011 Nov;7(11):e1002383. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002383. Epub 2011 Nov 17.

SH3 domain-mediated recruitment of host cell amphiphysins by alphavirus nsP3 promotes viral RNA replication.

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Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.


Among the four non-structural proteins of alphaviruses the function of nsP3 is the least well understood. NsP3 is a component of the viral replication complex, and composed of a conserved aminoterminal macro domain implicated in viral RNA synthesis, and a poorly conserved carboxyterminal region. Despite the lack of overall homology we noted a carboxyterminal proline-rich sequence motif shared by many alphaviral nsP3 proteins, and found it to serve as a preferred target site for the Src-homology 3 (SH3) domains of amphiphysin-1 and -2. Nsp3 proteins of Semliki Forest (SFV), Sindbis (SINV), and Chikungunya viruses all showed avid and SH3-dependent binding to amphiphysins. Upon alphavirus infection the intracellular distribution of amphiphysin was dramatically altered and colocalized with nsP3. Mutations in nsP3 disrupting the amphiphysin SH3 binding motif as well as RNAi-mediated silencing of amphiphysin-2 expression resulted in impaired viral RNA replication in HeLa cells infected with SINV or SFV. Infection of Balb/c mice with SFV carrying an SH3 binding-defective nsP3 was associated with significantly decreased mortality. These data establish SH3 domain-mediated binding of nsP3 with amphiphysin as an important host cell interaction promoting alphavirus replication.

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