Plus-stranded RNA viruses replicate in infected cells by assembling viral replicase complexes consisting of viral- and host-coded proteins. Previous genome-wide screens with Tomato bushy stunt tombusvirus (TBSV) in a yeast model host revealed the involvement of seven ESCRT (endosomal sorting complexes required for transport) proteins in viral replication. In this paper, we show that the expression of dominant negative Vps23p, Vps24p, Snf7p, and Vps4p ESCRT factors inhibited virus replication in the plant host, suggesting that tombusviruses co-opt selected ESCRT proteins for the assembly of the viral replicase complex. We also show that TBSV p33 replication protein interacts with Vps23p ESCRT-I and Bro1p accessory ESCRT factors. The interaction with p33 leads to the recruitment of Vps23p to the peroxisomes, the sites of TBSV replication. The viral replicase showed reduced activity and the minus-stranded viral RNA in the replicase became more accessible to ribonuclease when derived from vps23Delta or vps24Delta yeast, suggesting that the protection of the viral RNA is compromised within the replicase complex assembled in the absence of ESCRT proteins. The recruitment of ESCRT proteins is needed for the precise assembly of the replicase complex, which might help the virus evade recognition by the host defense surveillance system and/or prevent viral RNA destruction by the gene silencing machinery.

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Published in PLoS Pathogens, v. 5, no. 12, e1000705.

© 2009 Barajas et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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A Unique Role for the Host ESCRT.zip (2202 kB)
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