Journal of virology

Blocking ESCRT-mediated envelopment inhibits microtubule-dependent trafficking of alphaherpesviruses in vitro.

PMID 25297998


Herpes simplex virus (HSV) and, as reported here, pseudorabies virus (PRV) utilize the ESCRT apparatus to drive cytoplasmic envelopment of their capsids. Here, we demonstrate that blocking ESCRT-mediated envelopment using the dominant-negative inhibitor Vps4A-EQ (Vps4A in which glutamate [E] at position 228 in the ATPase active site is replaced by a glutamine [Q]) reduced the ability of HSV and PRV particles to subsequently traffic along microtubules in vitro. HSV and PRV capsid-associated particles with bound green fluorescent protein (GFP)-labeled Vps4A-EQ were readily detected by fluorescence microscopy in cytoplasmic extracts of infected cells. These Vps4A-EQ-associated capsid-containing particles bound to microtubules in vitro but were unable to traffic along them. Using a PRV strain expressing a fluorescent capsid and a fluorescently tagged form of the envelope protein gD, we found that similar numbers of gD-positive and gD-negative capsid-associated particles accumulated in cytoplasmic extracts under our conditions. Both classes of PRV particle bound to microtubules in vitro with comparable efficiency, and similar results were obtained for HSV using anti-gD immunostaining. The gD-positive and gD-negative PRV capsids were both capable of trafficking along microtubules in vitro; however, motile gD-positive particles were less numerous and their trafficking was more sensitive to the inhibitory effects of Vps4A-EQ. We discuss our data in the context of microtubule-mediated trafficking of naked and enveloped alphaherpesvirus capsids. The alphaherpesviruses include several important human pathogens. These viruses utilize microtubule-mediated transport to travel through the cell cytoplasm; however, the molecular mechanisms of trafficking are not well understood. In this study, we have used a cell-free system to examine the requirements for microtubule trafficking and have attempted to distinguish between the movement of so-called "naked" and membrane-associated cytoplasmic alphaherpesvirus capsids.