The glycoprotein precursor (G1/G2) gene of tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) was expressed in BHK cells using the Semliki Forest virus expression system. The results reveal that in this cell system, the precursor is efficiently cleaved and the resulting G1 and G2 glycoproteins are transported from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to the Golgi complex, where they are retained, a process that could be blocked by tunicamycin. Expression of G2 alone resulted in transport to and retention in the Golgi complex, albeit less efficient, suggesting that G2 contains a Golgi retention signal. G1 alone was retained in the ER, irrespective of whether it contained the precursor's signal sequence or its own N-terminal hydrophobic sequence. Coexpression of G1 and G2 from separate gene constructs resulted in rescue of efficient G1 transport, as the proteins coaccumulated in the Golgi complex, indicating that their interaction is essential for proper targeting to this organelle. The results demonstrate that transport and targeting of the plant TSWV glycoproteins in mammalian BHK cells are strikingly similar to those of animal-infecting bunyavirus glycoproteins in mammalian cells. The observations are likely to reflect the dual tropism of TSWV, which replicates both in its plant host and in its animal (thrips) vector.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)