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Unexpected Functional Divergence of Bat Influenza Virus NS1 Proteins


Turkington, H L; Juozapaitis, M; Tsolakos, N; Corrales-Aguilar, E; Schwemmle, M; Hale, B G (2018). Unexpected Functional Divergence of Bat Influenza Virus NS1 Proteins. Journal of Virology, 92(5):e02097-17.

Abstract

Recently, two influenza A virus (FLUAV) genomes were identified in Central and South American bats. These sequences exhibit notable divergence from classical FLUAV counterparts, and functionally, bat FLUAV glycoproteins lack canonical receptor binding and destroying activity. Nevertheless, other features that distinguish these viruses from classical FLUAVs have yet to be explored. Here, we studied the viral non-structural protein, NS1, a virulence factor that modulates host signaling to promote efficient propagation. Like all FLUAV NS1 proteins, bat FLUAV NS1s bind double-stranded RNA and act as interferon-antagonists. Unexpectedly, we found that bat FLUAV NS1s are unique in being unable to bind host p85β, a regulatory subunit of the cellular metabolism-regulating enzyme, phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K). Furthermore, neither bat FLUAV NS1 alone, nor infection with a chimeric bat FLUAV, efficiently activates Akt, a PI3K effector. Structure-guided mutagenesis revealed that the bat FLUAV NS1:p85β interaction can be re-engineered (in a strain-specific manner) by changing 2-4 NS1 residues (96L, 99M, 100I and 145T) thereby creating a hydrophobic patch. Notably, ameliorated p85β-binding is insufficient for bat FLUAV NS1 to activate PI3K, and a chimeric bat FLUAV expressing NS1 with engineered hydrophobic patch mutations exhibits cell-type dependent, but species independent, propagation phenotypes. We hypothesize that bat FLUAV hijack of PI3K in the natural bat host has been selected against, perhaps because genes in this metabolic pathway were differentially shaped by evolution to suit unique energy-use strategies of this flying mammal. Our data expand understanding of the enigmatic functional divergence between bat FLUAVs and classical mammalian and avian FLUAVs.IMPORTANCE The potential for novel influenza A viruses to establish infections in humans from animals is a source of continuous concern due to possible severe outbreaks or pandemics. The recent discovery of influenza A-like viruses in bats has raised questions over whether these entities could be a threat to humans. Understanding unique properties of the newly-described bat influenza A-like viruses, such as their mechanisms to infect cells or how they manipulate host functions, is critical to assess their likelihood of causing disease. Here, we characterized the bat influenza A-like virus NS1 protein, a key virulence factor, and found unexpected functional divergence of this protein from counterparts in other influenza A viruses. Our study dissects the molecular changes required by bat influenza A-like virus NS1 to adopt classical influenza A virus properties, and suggests consequences of bat influenza A-like virus infection, potential future evolutionary trajectories, and intriguing virus-host biology in bat species.

Abstract

Recently, two influenza A virus (FLUAV) genomes were identified in Central and South American bats. These sequences exhibit notable divergence from classical FLUAV counterparts, and functionally, bat FLUAV glycoproteins lack canonical receptor binding and destroying activity. Nevertheless, other features that distinguish these viruses from classical FLUAVs have yet to be explored. Here, we studied the viral non-structural protein, NS1, a virulence factor that modulates host signaling to promote efficient propagation. Like all FLUAV NS1 proteins, bat FLUAV NS1s bind double-stranded RNA and act as interferon-antagonists. Unexpectedly, we found that bat FLUAV NS1s are unique in being unable to bind host p85β, a regulatory subunit of the cellular metabolism-regulating enzyme, phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K). Furthermore, neither bat FLUAV NS1 alone, nor infection with a chimeric bat FLUAV, efficiently activates Akt, a PI3K effector. Structure-guided mutagenesis revealed that the bat FLUAV NS1:p85β interaction can be re-engineered (in a strain-specific manner) by changing 2-4 NS1 residues (96L, 99M, 100I and 145T) thereby creating a hydrophobic patch. Notably, ameliorated p85β-binding is insufficient for bat FLUAV NS1 to activate PI3K, and a chimeric bat FLUAV expressing NS1 with engineered hydrophobic patch mutations exhibits cell-type dependent, but species independent, propagation phenotypes. We hypothesize that bat FLUAV hijack of PI3K in the natural bat host has been selected against, perhaps because genes in this metabolic pathway were differentially shaped by evolution to suit unique energy-use strategies of this flying mammal. Our data expand understanding of the enigmatic functional divergence between bat FLUAVs and classical mammalian and avian FLUAVs.IMPORTANCE The potential for novel influenza A viruses to establish infections in humans from animals is a source of continuous concern due to possible severe outbreaks or pandemics. The recent discovery of influenza A-like viruses in bats has raised questions over whether these entities could be a threat to humans. Understanding unique properties of the newly-described bat influenza A-like viruses, such as their mechanisms to infect cells or how they manipulate host functions, is critical to assess their likelihood of causing disease. Here, we characterized the bat influenza A-like virus NS1 protein, a key virulence factor, and found unexpected functional divergence of this protein from counterparts in other influenza A viruses. Our study dissects the molecular changes required by bat influenza A-like virus NS1 to adopt classical influenza A virus properties, and suggests consequences of bat influenza A-like virus infection, potential future evolutionary trajectories, and intriguing virus-host biology in bat species.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Medical Virology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:19 Jan 2018 12:42
Last Modified:20 Feb 2018 09:02
Publisher:American Society for Microbiology
ISSN:0022-538X
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1128/JVI.02097-17
PubMed ID:29237829

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Embargo till: 2018-06-01