Unravelling the Stability and Capsid Dynamics of the Three Virions of Brome Mosaic Virus Assembled Autonomously In Vivo
- Author(s): Rao, A.L.N.
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://jvi.asm.org/content/94/8/e01794-19
Viral capsids are dynamic assemblies that undergo controlled conformational transitions to perform various biological functions. The replication-derived four-molecule RNA progeny of Brome mosaic virus (BMV) is packaged by a single capsid protein (CP) into three types of morphologically indistinguishable icosahedral virions with T?3 quasisymmetry. Type 1 (B1V) and type 2 (B2V) virions package genomic RNA1 and RNA2, respectively, while type 3 (B3?4V) virions co-package genomic RNA3 (B3) and its subgenomic RNA4 (sgB4). In this study, the application of a robust Agrobacterium-mediated transient expression system allowed us to assemble each virion type separately in planta. Experimental approaches analyzing the morphology, size, and electrophoretic mobility failed to distinguish between the virion types. Thermal denaturation analysis and protease-based peptide mass mapping experiments were used to analyze the stability and the conformational dynamics of the individual virions, respectively. The crystallographic structure of the BMV capsid shows four trypsin cleavage sites (K65, R103, K111, and K165 on the CP subunits) exposed on the exterior of the capsid. Irrespective of the digestion time, while retaining their capsid structural integrity, B1V and B2V released a single peptide encompassing amino acids 2 to 8 of the N-proximal arginine-rich RNA binding motif. In contrast, B3?4V capsids were unstable with trypsin, releasing several peptides in addition to the peptides encompassing four predicted sites exposed on the capsid exterior. These results, demonstrating qualitatively different dynamics for the three types of BMV virions, suggest that the different RNA genes they contain may have different translational timing and efficiency and may even impart different structures to their capsids.