GSBS Dissertations and Theses

Approval Date

6-26-2008

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Department

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology

Subjects

Viral Fusion Proteins; Disulfides; Newcastle disease virus; Membrane Fusion; Protein Disulfide-Isomerase; Academic Dissertations; Dissertations, UMMS

Abstract

Newcastle disease virus (NDV), an avian paramyxovirus, enters the host cell by fusion of viral and host cell membranes. The fusion of two membranes is mediated by the viral fusion (F) protein. The F protein, like other class I fusion proteins, is thought to undergo major conformational changes during the fusion process. The exact mechanism that leads to major refolding of F protein is not clear. Recently, it has been proposed that disulfide bond reduction in the fusion protein of some viruses may be involved in the conformational changes in fusion proteins. In some viruses, the reduction of disulfide bonds in the fusion protein is mediated by host cell disulfide isomerases belonging to the protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) family. In this study, the role of disulfide bond isomerization in the entry of NDV was analyzed. Using inhibitors of thiol-disulfide isomerases, we found that blocking the reduction of disulfide bonds in the fusion protein inhibited cell-cell fusion as well as virus entry into the host cell. Also, over-expression of isomerases belonging to the PDI family significantly enhanced cell-cell fusion. Taken together, these results suggest that free thiols play an important role in fusion mediated by NDV glycoproteins.

Using a thiol specific, membrane impermeable biotin, MPB, we found that free thiols are produced in cell surface-expressed NDV F protein. The production of free thiols was inhibited by inhibitors of thiol-disulfide isomerases. Over-expression of isomerases belonging to the PDI family enhanced detection of free thiols in F protein. In F protein, present in virions or in virus-like particles, free thiols were detected only after the particles were attached to target cells. Taken together, these results suggest that free thiols are produced in F protein and the production of free thiols is mediated by host cell thiol-disulfide isomerases.

Using conformation sensitive antibodies, we also studied the conformation of cell surface-expressed F protein in the presence ofthiol-disulfide isomerase inhibitors or in cells over-expressing thiol-disulfide isomerases. In the presence of thiol-disulfide isomerase inhibitors, the cell surface-expressed F protein was in a prefusion conformation while in cells over-expressing thiol-disulfide isomerases the F protein was in a post-fusion conformation.

We also correlated the production of free thiols to the conformational changes in F protein. Using temperature-arrested intermediates or F protein with mutations in heptad repeat domains, which are defective in attaining intermediate conformations, we found that free thiols are produced before any of the proposed conformational changes in F protein. Also, the production of free thiols in F protein was found to be independent of its activation by hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) protein. These results suggest that free thiols are probably required for the activation of F protein during membrane fusion.

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