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J Virol. 2019 Aug 13;93(17). pii: e00505-19. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00505-19. Print 2019 Sep 1.

Progeny Varicella-Zoster Virus Capsids Exit the Nucleus but Never Undergo Secondary Envelopment during Autophagic Flux Inhibition by Bafilomycin A1.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.
Central Microscopy Research Core, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.
Division of Infectious Diseases/Virology, Children's Hospital, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.
Division of Infectious Diseases/Virology, Children's Hospital, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA


Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is an alphaherpesvirus that lacks the herpesviral neurovirulence protein ICP34.5. The underlying hypothesis of this project was that inhibitors of autophagy reduce VZV infectivity. We selected the vacuolar proton ATPase inhibitor bafilomycin A1 for analysis because of its well-known antiautophagy property of impeding acidification during the late stage of autophagic flux. We documented that bafilomycin treatment from 48 to 72 h postinfection lowered VZV titers substantially (P ≤ 0.008). Because we were unable to define the site of the block in the infectious cycle by confocal microscopy, we turned to electron microscopy. Capsids were observed in the nucleus, in the perinuclear space, and in the cytoplasm adjacent to Golgi apparatus vesicles. Many of the capsids had an aberrant appearance, as has been observed previously in infections not treated with bafilomycin. In contrast to prior untreated infections, however, secondary envelopment of capsids was not seen in the trans-Golgi network, nor were prototypical enveloped particles with capsids (virions) seen in cytoplasmic vesicles after bafilomycin treatment. Instead, multiple particles with varying diameters without capsids (light particles) were seen in large virus assembly compartments near the disorganized Golgi apparatus. Bafilomycin treatment also led to increased numbers of multivesicular bodies in the cytoplasm, some of which contained remnants of the Golgi apparatus. In summary, we have defined a previously unrecognized property of bafilomycin whereby it disrupted the site of secondary envelopment of VZV capsids by altering the pH of the trans-Golgi network and thereby preventing the correct formation of virus assembly compartments.IMPORTANCE This study of VZV assembly in the presence of bafilomycin A1 emphasizes the importance of the Golgi apparatus/trans-Golgi network as a platform in the alphaherpesvirus life cycle. We have previously shown that VZV induces levels of autophagy far above the basal levels of autophagy in human skin, a major site of VZV assembly. The current study documented that bafilomycin treatment led to impaired assembly of VZV capsids after primary envelopment/de-envelopment but before secondary reenvelopment. This VZV study also complemented prior herpes simplex virus 1 and pseudorabies virus studies investigating two other inhibitors of endoplasmic reticulum (ER)/Golgi apparatus function: brefeldin A and monensin. Studies with porcine herpesvirus demonstrated that primary enveloped particles accumulated in the perinuclear space in the presence of brefeldin A, while studies with herpes simplex virus 1 documented an impaired secondary assembly of enveloped viral particles in the presence of monensin.


LC3-II; autophagy; herpes simplex virus; multivesicular body; pseudorabies; trans-Golgi network

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