PLoS Pathogens (Sep 2022)

A conserved viral amphipathic helix governs the replication site-specific membrane association.

  • Preethi Sathanantham,
  • Wenhao Zhao,
  • Guijuan He,
  • Austin Murray,
  • Emma Fenech,
  • Arturo Diaz,
  • Maya Schuldiner,
  • Xiaofeng Wang

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 18, no. 9
p. e1010752


Read online

Positive-strand RNA viruses assemble their viral replication complexes (VRCs) on specific host organelle membranes, yet it is unclear how viral replication proteins recognize and what motifs or domains in viral replication proteins determine their destinations. We show here that an amphipathic helix, helix B in replication protein 1a of brome mosaic virus (BMV), is necessary for 1a's localization to the nuclear endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane where BMV assembles its VRCs. Helix B is also sufficient to target soluble proteins to the nuclear ER membrane in yeast and plant cells. We further show that an equivalent helix in several plant- and human-infecting viruses of the Alsuviricetes class targets fluorescent proteins to the organelle membranes where they form their VRCs, including ER, vacuole, and Golgi membranes. Our work reveals a conserved helix that governs the localization of VRCs among a group of viruses and points to a possible target for developing broad-spectrum antiviral strategies.