PloS one

Heat shock protein 70 is associated with replicase complex of Japanese encephalitis virus and positively regulates viral genome replication.

PMID 24086464


Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that causes the most prevalent viral encephalitis in Asia. The NS5 protein of JEV is a key component of the viral replicase complex, which plays a crucial role in viral pathogenesis. In this study, tandem affinity purification (TAP) followed by mass spectrometry analysis was performed to identify novel host proteins that interact with NS5. Heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70), eukaryotic elongation factor 1-alpha (eEF-1α) and ras-related nuclear protein (Ran) were demonstrated to interact with NS5. In addition to NS5, Hsp70 was also found to interact with NS3 which is another important member of the replicase complex. It was observed that the cytoplasmic Hsp70 partially colocalizes with the components of viral replicase complex including NS3, NS5 and viral dsRNA during JEV infection. Knockdown of Hsp70 resulted in a significantly reduced JEV genome replication. Further analysis reveals that Hsp70 enhances the stability of viral proteins in JEV replicase complex. These results suggest an important role for Hsp70 in regulating JEV replication, which provides a potential target for the development of anti-JEV therapies.