Modulation of Re-initiation of Measles Virus Transcription at Intergenic Regions by PXDto NTAILBinding Strength

Louis Marie Bloyet, Joanna Brunel, Marion Dosnon, Véronique Hamon, Jenny Erales, Antoine Gruet, Carine Lazert, Christophe Bignon, Philippe Roche, Sonia Longhi, Denis Gerlier

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34 Scopus citations


Measles virus (MeV) and all Paramyxoviridae members rely on a complex polymerase machinery to ensure viral transcription and replication. Their polymerase associates the phosphoprotein (P) and the L protein that is endowed with all necessary enzymatic activities. To be processive, the polymerase uses as template a nucleocapsid made of genomic RNA entirely wrapped into a continuous oligomer of the nucleoprotein (N). The polymerase enters the nucleocapsid at the 3’end of the genome where are located the promoters for transcription and replication. Transcription of the six genes occurs sequentially. This implies ending and re-initiating mRNA synthesis at each intergenic region (IGR). We explored here to which extent the binding of the X domain of P (XD) to the C-terminal region of the N protein (NTAIL) is involved in maintaining the P/L complex anchored to the nucleocapsid template during the sequential transcription. Amino acid substitutions introduced in the XD-binding site on NTAILresulted in a wide range of binding affinities as determined by combining protein complementation assays in E. coli and human cells and isothermal titration calorimetry. Molecular dynamics simulations revealed that XD binding to NTAILinvolves a complex network of hydrogen bonds, the disruption of which by two individual amino acid substitutions markedly reduced the binding affinity. Using a newly designed, highly sensitive dual-luciferase reporter minigenome assay, the efficiency of re-initiation through the five measles virus IGRs was found to correlate with NTAIL/XD KD. Correlatively, P transcript accumulation rate and F/N transcript ratios from recombinant viruses expressing N variants were also found to correlate with the NTAILto XD binding strength. Altogether, our data support a key role for XD binding to NTAILin maintaining proper anchor of the P/L complex thereby ensuring transcription re-initiation at each intergenic region.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1006058
JournalPLoS pathogens
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 9 2016


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