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Proteomics of Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Nuclear Capsids.

El Bilali N, Khadivjam B, Bonneil E, Thibault P, Lippé R

Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3T 1C5.

Herpes simplex virus replicates in the nucleus, where new capsids are assembled. It produces procapsids devoid of nucleic acid but containing the preVP22a scaffold protein. These thermo-unstable particles then mature into A-, B- or C-nuclear icosahedral capsids, depending on their ability to shed the proteolytically processed scaffold and incorporation of the viral genome. To study how these viral capsids differ, we performed proteomics studies of highly enriched HSV-1 A-, B- and C-nuclear capsids, relying in part on a novel and powerful flow virometry approach to purify C-capsids. We found that the viral particles contained the expected capsid components and identified several tegument proteins in the C-capsid fraction (pUL21, pUL36, pUL46, pUL48, pUL49, pUL50, pUL51 and pUS10). Moreover, numerous ribosomal, hnRNPs and other host proteins, absent from the uninfected controls, were detected on the capsids with some of them seemingly specific to C-capsids (glycogen synthase, four different keratin-related proteins, fibronectin 1 and PCBP1). A subsequent proteomics analysis was performed to rule out the presence of protein complexes that may share similar density as the viral capsids but do not otherwise interact with them. Using pUL25 or VP5 mutant viruses incapable of assembling C-nuclear or all nuclear capsids, respectively, we confirmed the bulk of our initial findings. Naturally, it will next be important to address the functional relevance of these proteins.IMPORTANCE Much is known about the biology of herpesviruses. This includes their unique ability to traverse the two nuclear envelopes by sequential budding and fusion steps. For HSV-1, this implies the pUL31/pUL34 and pUL17/pUL25 complexes that may favor C-capsid egress. However, this selection process is not clear, nor are all the differences that distinguish A-, B- and C-capsids. The present study probes what proteins compose these capsids, including host proteins. This should open up new research avenues to clarify the biology of this most interesting family of viruses. It also reiterates the use of flow virometry as an innovative tool to purify viral particles.

J Virol 2020;95(4):e01842-19.

Pubmed ID: 33239454

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