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PLoS Pathog. 2015 May 1;11(5):e1004879. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004879. eCollection 2015 May.

Recovery of Recombinant Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus Reveals a Function for Non-structural Glycoproteins Cleavage by Furin.

Author information

1
Viral Special Pathogens Branch, Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America.

Abstract

Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is a negative-strand RNA virus of the family Bunyaviridae (genus: Nairovirus). In humans, CCHFV causes fever, hemorrhage, severe thrombocytopenia, and high fatality. A major impediment in precisely determining the basis of CCHFV's high pathogenicity has been the lack of methodology to produce recombinant CCHFV. We developed a reverse genetics system based on transfecting plasmids into BSR-T7/5 and Huh7 cells. In our system, bacteriophage T7 RNA polymerase produced complementary RNA copies of the viral S, M, and L segments that were encapsidated with the support, in trans, of CCHFV nucleoprotein and L polymerase. The system was optimized to systematically recover high yields of infectious CCHFV. Additionally, we tested the ability of the system to produce specifically designed CCHFV mutants. The M segment encodes a polyprotein that is processed by host proprotein convertases (PCs), including the site-1 protease (S1P) and furin-like PCs. S1P and furin cleavages are necessary for producing the non-structural glycoprotein GP38, while S1P cleavage yields structural Gn. We studied the role of furin cleavage by rescuing a recombinant CCHFV encoding a virus glycoprotein precursor lacking a functional furin cleavage motif (RSKR mutated to ASKA). The ASKA mutation blocked glycoprotein precursor's maturation to GP38, and Gn precursor's maturation to Gn was slightly diminished. Furin cleavage was not essential for replication, as blocking furin cleavage resulted only in transient reduction of CCHFV titers, suggesting that either GP38 and/or decreased Gn maturation accounted for the reduced virion production. Our data demonstrate that nairoviruses can be produced by reverse genetics, and the utility of our system uncovered a function for furin cleavage. This viral rescue system could be further used to study the CCHFV replication cycle and facilitate the development of efficacious vaccines to counter this biological and public health threat.

PMID:
25933376
PMCID:
PMC4416775
DOI:
10.1371/journal.ppat.1004879
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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