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J Virol. 2016 Apr 29;90(10):5176-86. doi: 10.1128/JVI.03224-15. Print 2016 May 15.

Internal Proteins of the Procapsid and Mature Capsids of Herpes Simplex Virus 1 Mapped by Bubblegram Imaging.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Structural Biology Research, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
2
Laboratory of Structural Biology Research, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA stevena@mail.nih.gov.

Abstract

The herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) capsid is a huge assembly, ∼1,250 Å in diameter, and is composed of thousands of protein subunits with a combined mass of ∼200 MDa, housing a 100-MDa genome. First, a procapsid is formed through coassembly of the surface shell with an inner scaffolding shell; then the procapsid matures via a major structural transformation, triggered by limited proteolysis of the scaffolding proteins. Three mature capsids are found in the nuclei of infected cells. A capsids are empty, B capsids retain a shrunken scaffolding shell, and C capsids-which develop into infectious virions-are filled with DNA and ostensibly have expelled the scaffolding shell. The possible presence of other internal proteins in C capsids has been moot as, in cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), they would be camouflaged by the surrounding DNA. We have used bubblegram imaging to map internal proteins in all four capsids, aided by the discovery that the scaffolding protein is exceptionally prone to radiation-induced bubbling. We confirmed that this protein forms thick-walled inner shells in the procapsid and the B capsid. C capsids generate two classes of bubbles: one occupies positions beneath the vertices of the icosahedral surface shell, and the other is distributed throughout its interior. A likely candidate is the viral protease. A subpopulation of C capsids bubbles particularly profusely and may represent particles in which expulsion of scaffold and DNA packaging are incomplete. Based on the procapsid structure, we propose that the axial channels of hexameric capsomers afford the pathway via which the scaffolding protein is expelled.

IMPORTANCE:

In addition to DNA, capsids of tailed bacteriophages and their distant relatives, herpesviruses, contain internal proteins. These proteins are often essential for infectivity but are difficult to locate within the virion. A novel adaptation of cryo-EM based on detecting gas bubbles generated by radiation damage was used to localize internal proteins of HSV-1, yielding insights into how capsid maturation is regulated. The scaffolding protein, which forms inner shells in the procapsid and B capsid, is exceptionally bubbling-prone. In the mature DNA-filled C capsid, a previously undetected protein was found to underlie the icosahedral vertices: this is tentatively assigned as a storage form of the viral protease. We also observed a capsid species that appears to contain substantial amounts of scaffolding protein as well as DNA, suggesting that DNA packaging and expulsion of the scaffolding protein are coupled processes.

PMID:
26984725
PMCID:
PMC4859710
DOI:
10.1128/JVI.03224-15
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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