Targeted mutational analysis to unravel the complexity of African horse sickness virus NS3 function in mammalian cells.


Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Hatfield, 0028, Pretoria, South Africa. Electronic address: [Email]


The African horse sickness virus non-structural protein 3 (NS3) is involved in the final stages of infection. To gain insight into the function of different NS3 domains, we generated reverse genetics-derived mutants, each expressing a modified version of the protein. A functional comparison of these mutants to the wild-type virus in mammalian cells indicated the variable contribution of the different domains to the cytopathic effect and in ensuring effective virus trafficking and release. The transmembrane domains were determined as essential mediators of NS3 localisation, as the abnormal processing of these mutant proteins resulted in their nuclear localisation and interaction with NS1. NS3 cytoplasmic domain disruptions resulted in increased cytosolic virus particle accumulation and abnormal virion tethering to plasma membranes. Other aspects of infection were also affected, such as VIB formation and distribution of the outer capsid proteins. Overall, these results illustrate the intricate role of NS3 in the infection cycle.


AHSV,NS1,NS3,Protein functional domains,Reverse genetics,Virus release,Virus trafficking,

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