Time-resolved analysis of N-RNA interactions during RVFV infection shows qualitative and quantitative shifts in RNA encapsidation and packaging

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Abstract

Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is a negative-sense, tripartite RNA virus that is endemic to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. It can cause severe disease and mortality in humans and domestic livestock and is a concern for its potential to spread more globally. RVFV’s nucleocapsid protein (N) is an RNA-binding protein that is necessary for viral transcription, replication, and the production of nascent viral particles. We have conducted crosslinking, immunoprecipitation, and sequencing (CLIP-seq) to characterize N interactions with host and viral RNAs during infection. In parallel, to precisely measure intracellular N levels, we employed multiple reaction monitoring mass spectrometry (MRM-MS). Our results show that N binds mostly to host RNAs at early stages of infection, yielding nascent virus particles of reduced infectivity. The expression of N plateaus 10 h post-infection, whereas the intracellular viral RNA concentration continues to increase. Moreover, the virions produced later in infection have higher infectivity. Taken together, the detailed examination of these N–RNA interactions provides insight into how the regulated expression of N and viral RNA produces both infectious and incomplete, noninfectious particles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2417
JournalViruses
Volume13
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • CLIP-seq
  • MRM-MS
  • Nucleocapsid protein
  • Rift Valley fever virus

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