Scientific reports

Nucleocapsid Interacts with NPM1 and Protects it from Proteolytic Cleavage, Enhancing Cell Survival, and is Involved in PEDV Growth.

PMID 28045037


Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) replicates in the cytoplasm of infected cells, but its nucleocapsid (N) protein localizes specifically to the nucleolus. The mechanism of nuclear translocation, and whether N protein associates with particular nucleolar components, is unknown. In this study, we confirm that a nucleolar phosphoprotein nucleophosmin (NPM1) interacts and co-localizes with the N protein in the nucleolus. In vitro binding studies indicated that aa 148-294 of N and aa 118-188 of NPM1 were required for binding. Interestingly, N protein importation into the nucleolus is independent of the ability of NPM1 to shuttle between the nucleus and the cytoplasm. Furthermore, overexpression of NPM1 promoted PEDV growth, while knockdown of NPM1 suppressed PEDV growth. In addition, binding of N protein to NPM1 protects it from proteolytic degradation by caspase-3, leading to increased cell survival. Taken together, our studies demonstrate a specific interaction of the N protein with the host cell protein NPM1 in the nucleolus. The results suggest potential linkages among viral strategies for the regulation of cell survival activities, possibly through an interaction of N protein with NPM1 which prevents its proteolytic cleavage and enhances cell survival, thus ultimately promoting the replication of PEDV.