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A Conserved Domain in the Leader Proteinase of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus Is Required for Proper Subcellular Localization and Function

de los Santos, Teresa, Diaz-San Segundo, Fayna, Zhu, James, Koster, Marla, Dias, Camila C.A., Grubman, Marvin J.
Journal of virology 2009 v.83 no.4 pp. 1800
Foot-and-mouth disease virus, proteinases, mutants, phenotype, host-pathogen relationships, cytopathogenicity, virus replication, immunocytochemistry, proteolysis, cultured cells
The leader proteinase (Lpro) of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) is involved in antagonizing the innate immune response by blocking the expression of interferon (IFN) and by reducing the immediate-early induction of kIFN-kβ mRNA and IFN-stimulated genes. In addition to its role in shutting off cap-dependent host mRNA translation, Lpro is associated with the degradation of the p65/RelA subunit of nuclear factor B (NF-B). Bioinformatics analysis suggests that Lpro contains a SAP (for SAF-A/B, Acinus, and PIAS) domain, a protein structure associated in some cases with the nuclear retention of molecules involved in transcriptional control. We have introduced a single or a double mutation in conserved amino acid residues contained within this domain of Lpro. Although three stable mutant viruses were obtained, only the double mutant displayed an attenuated phenotype in cell culture. Indirect immunofluorescence analysis showed that Lpro subcellular distribution is altered in cells infected with the double mutant virus. Interestingly, nuclear p65/RelA staining disappeared from wild-type (WT) FMDV-infected cells but not from double mutant virus-infected cells. Consistent with these results, NF-kB-dependent transcription was not inhibited in cells infected with double mutant virus in contrast to cells infected with WT virus. However, degradation of the translation initiation factor eIF-4G was very similar for both the WT and the double mutant viruses. Since Lpro catalytic activity was demonstrated to be a requirement for p65/RelA degradation, our results indicate that mutation of the SAP domain reveals a novel separation-of-function activity for FMDV Lpro.