Wijesinghe, K.J.; McVeigh, L.; Husby, M.L.; Bhattarai, N.; Ma, J.; Gerstman, B.S.; Chapagain, P.P.; Stahelin, R.V. Mutation of Hydrophobic Residues in the C-Terminal Domain of the Marburg Virus Matrix Protein VP40 Disrupts Trafficking to the Plasma Membrane. Viruses2020, 12, 482.
Wijesinghe, K.J.; McVeigh, L.; Husby, M.L.; Bhattarai, N.; Ma, J.; Gerstman, B.S.; Chapagain, P.P.; Stahelin, R.V. Mutation of Hydrophobic Residues in the C-Terminal Domain of the Marburg Virus Matrix Protein VP40 Disrupts Trafficking to the Plasma Membrane. Viruses 2020, 12, 482.
Marburg virus (MARV) is a lipid-enveloped negative sense single stranded RNA virus, which can cause a deadly hemorrhagic fever. MARV encodes seven proteins, including VP40 (mVP40), a matrix protein that interacts with the cytoplasmic leaflet of the host cell plasma membrane. VP40 traffics to the plasma membrane inner leaflet, where it assembles to facilitate the budding of viral particles. VP40 is a multifunctional protein that interacts with several host proteins and lipids to complete the viral replication cycle, but many of these host-interactions remain unknown or are poorly characterized. In this study, we investigated the role of a hydrophobic loop region in the carboxy-terminal domain (CTD) of mVP40 that shares sequence similarity with the CTD of Ebola virus VP40 (eVP40). These conserved hydrophobic residues in eVP40 have been previously shown to be critical to plasma membrane localization and membrane insertion. An array of cellular experiments and confirmatory in vitro work strongly suggests proper orientation and hydrophobic residues (Phe281, Leu283, and Phe286) in the mVP40 CTD are critical to plasma membrane localization. In line with the different functions proposed for eVP40 and mVP40 CTD hydrophobic residues, molecular dynamics simulations demonstrate large flexibility of residues in the EBOV CTD whereas conserved mVP40 hydrophobic residues are more restricted in their flexibility. This study sheds further light on important amino acids and structural features in mVP40 required for its plasma membrane localization as well as differences in the functional role of CTD amino acids in eVP40 and mVP40.
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