PloS one

RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerases of Both Virulent and Benign Rabbit Caliciviruses Induce Striking Rearrangement of Golgi Membranes.

PMID 28072826


The extremely pathogenic Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) and the completely benign Rabbit calicivirus (RCV) are closely related members of the genus Lagovirus (family Caliciviridae). The molecular mechanisms that determine the dramatic difference in virulence are unknown, but indirect evidence suggests that different properties of their RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRps) may at least partially be responsible for the contrasting phenotypes. Here we report that the unusual ability of the RHDV RdRp to induce a striking rearrangement of the Golgi network is not specific to RHDV, but a common feature of virulent and benign rabbit caliciviruses alike. Expression of rabbit calicivirus RdRps induced a redistribution of both cis/medial and medial/trans Golgi membrane markers, but not that of an endoplasmic reticulum membrane marker. Inactivating mutations in the conserved GDD motif did not abolish the ability of RHDV RdRp to rearrange the Golgi network, suggesting that polymerase activity and metal co-factors are not required for this function. Finally, we discuss possible implications of RdRp-induced membrane rearrangements on virus replication and host immune responses.