Presentation Abstract

Session Title: Virus Structure & Assembly
Location: Hall C
Presentation Number: 2184-Pos
Board Number: B170
Presentation Time: 3/8/2011 1:45:00 PM
Author Block: Ivo C. Martins1, Fabiana A. Carneiro2, Ronaldo Mohana-Borges2, André Faustino1, Renata M. Pereira2, Filomena A. Carvalho1, Miguel A. Castanho1, Fábio Almeida2, Nuno C. Santos1, Andrea T. Da Poian2.
1Instituto de Medicina Molecular (IMM), Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Lisboa (FMUL), Lisbon, Portugal, 2Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Abstract Body: Dengue virus affects 100 million people yearly, but this number may grow since Aedes spp. mosquitoes, the disease vectors, are spreading to temperate climates, including in the USA. No effective vaccines are available. A poor understanding of the viral life cycle is to blame, especially regarding the viral assembly and encapsidation process, mediated by Dengue Virus Capsid Protein (DVCP). DVCP is a symmetric homodimmer α-helical protein that must interact with intracellular lipid droplets during viral encapsidation. DVCP charge distribution suggests that its α2-α2’ nonpolar region may interact with lipids and the α4-α4’ positive charged region could interact with viral RNA. By employing biophysical techniques combined with bioinformatics tools, we found this hypothesis correct.
Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) shows a strong interaction with lipid droplets on the N-terminus and the α2-α2’ region of DVCP and points to a conformational change transmitted to the α4-α4’ region (C-terminus) via specific residues located in the α2-α2’ region. Aligning DVCP sequence with 16 Flavivirus spp. capsid proteins demonstrates that the residues identified by NMR as important for the lipid droplets interaction are conserved in the genus. Moreover, Dengue and West-Nile virus capsid protein structures super-impose in the α2, α3 and α4 helices, pointing to a fold conservation among Flavivirus spp. DVCP α4-helices superimpose with oligonucleotide binding motifs, being therefore likely to bind RNA. Upon interaction with DVCP, the zeta potential of lipid droplets progressively shifts from negative to positive values, suggesting the positive α4-helices exposure on the surface of the lipid droplet-DVCP conjugate.
Concluding, DVCP specifically interacts with lipid droplets via its N-terminus and the α2-α2’ region, resulting in conformational changes in the α4-α4’ region and, finally, the DVCP-RNA binding. These regions could thus be targeted in future dengue drug development strategies.
Commercial Relationship:  I.C. Martins: None. F.A. Carneiro: None. R. Mohana-Borges: None. A. Faustino: None. R.M. Pereira: None. F.A. Carvalho: None. M.A. Castanho: None. F. Almeida: None. N.C. Santos: None. A.T. Da Poian: None.

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