Bimolecular complementation of paramyxovirus fusion and hemagglutinin-neuraminidase proteins enhances fusion: Implications for the mechanism of fusion triggering

Sarah A. Connolly, George P. Leser, Theodore S. Jardetzky, Robert A. Lamb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

73 Scopus citations

Abstract

For paramyxoviruses, entry requires a receptor-binding protein (hemagglutinin-neuraminidase [HN], H, or G) and a fusion protein (F). Like other class I viral fusion proteins, F is expressed as a prefusion metastable protein that undergoes a refolding event to induce fusion. HN binding to its receptor triggers F refolding by an unknown mechanism. HN may serve as a clamp that stabilizes F in its prefusion state until HN binds the target cell (the "clamp model"). Alternatively, HN itself may undergo a conformational change after receptor binding that destabilizes F and causes F to trigger (the "provocateur model"). To examine F-HN interactions by bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC), the cytoplasmic tails of parainfluenza virus 5 (PIV5) F and HN were fused to complementary fragments of yellow fluorescent protein (YFP). Coexpression of the BiFC constructs resulted in fluorescence; however, coexpression with unrelated BiFC constructs also produced fluorescence. The affinity of the two halves of YFP presumably superseded the F-HN interaction. Unexpectedly, coexpression of the BiFC F and HN constructs greatly enhanced fusion in multiple cell types. We hypothesize that the increase in fusion occurs because the BiFC tags bring F and HN together more frequently than occurs in a wild-type (wt) scenario. This implies that normally much of wt F is not associated with wt HN, in conflict with the clamp model for activation. Correspondingly, we show that wt PIV5 fusion occurs in an HN concentration-dependent manner. Also inconsistent with the clamp model are the findings that BiFC F does not adopt a postfusion conformation when expressed in the absence of HN and that HN coexpression does not provide resistance to the heat-induced triggering of F. In support of a provocateur model of F activation, we demonstrate by analysis of the morphology of soluble F trimers that the hyperfusogenic mutation S443P has a destabilizing effect on F.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10857-10868
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of virology
Volume83
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology

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