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PLoS Pathog. 2015 Nov 12;11(11):e1005277. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005277. eCollection 2015.

Dengue Virus Non-structural Protein 1 Modulates Infectious Particle Production via Interaction with the Structural Proteins.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, Molecular Virology, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany.


Non-structural protein 1 (NS1) is one of the most enigmatic proteins of the Dengue virus (DENV), playing distinct functions in immune evasion, pathogenesis and viral replication. The recently reported crystal structure of DENV NS1 revealed its peculiar three-dimensional fold; however, detailed information on NS1 function at different steps of the viral replication cycle is still missing. By using the recently reported crystal structure, as well as amino acid sequence conservation, as a guide for a comprehensive site-directed mutagenesis study, we discovered that in addition to being essential for RNA replication, DENV NS1 is also critically required for the production of infectious virus particles. Taking advantage of a trans-complementation approach based on fully functional epitope-tagged NS1 variants, we identified previously unreported interactions between NS1 and the structural proteins Envelope (E) and precursor Membrane (prM). Interestingly, coimmunoprecipitation revealed an additional association with capsid, arguing that NS1 interacts via the structural glycoproteins with DENV particles. Results obtained with mutations residing either in the NS1 Wing domain or in the β-ladder domain suggest that NS1 might have two distinct functions in the assembly of DENV particles. By using a trans-complementation approach with a C-terminally KDEL-tagged ER-resident NS1, we demonstrate that the secretion of NS1 is dispensable for both RNA replication and infectious particle production. In conclusion, our results provide an extensive genetic map of NS1 determinants essential for viral RNA replication and identify a novel role of NS1 in virion production that is mediated via interaction with the structural proteins. These studies extend the list of NS1 functions and argue for a central role in coordinating replication and assembly/release of infectious DENV particles.

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