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Evidence that Hsc70 is associated with Cucumber Necrosis Virus particles and plays a role in particle disassembly

Alam, S.B., Rochon, D. (2017). Evidence that Hsc70 is associated with Cucumber Necrosis Virus particles and plays a role in particle disassembly, 91(2),


© 2017 American Society for Microbiology. Uncoating of a virus particle to expose its nucleic acid is a critical aspect of the viral multiplication cycle, as it is essential for the establishment of infection. In the present study, we investigated the role of plant HSP70 homologs in the uncoating process of Cucumber necrosis virus (CNV), a nonenveloped positive-sense single-stranded RNA [(+)ssRNA] virus having a T=3 icosahedral capsid. We have found through Western blot analysis and mass spectrometry that the HSP70 homolog Hsc70-2 copurifies with CNV particles. Virus overlay and immunogold labeling assays suggest that Hsc70-2 is physically bound to virions. Furthermore, trypsin digestion profiles suggest that the bound Hsc70-2 is partially protected by the virus, indicating an intimate association with particles. In investigating a possible role of Hsc70-2 in particle disassembly, we showed that particles incubated with Hsp70/Hsc70 antibody produce fewer local lesions than those incubated with prebleed control antibody on Chenopodium quinoa. In conjunction, CNV virions purified using CsCl and having undetectable amounts of Hsc70-2 produce fewer local lesions. We also have found that plants with elevated levels of HSP70/Hsc70 produce higher numbers of local lesions following CNV inoculation. Finally, incubation of recombinant Nicotiana benthamiana Hsc70-2 with virus particles in vitro leads to conformational changes or partial disassembly of capsids as determined by transmission electron microscopy, and particles are more sensitive to chymotrypsin digestion. This is the first report suggesting that a cellular Hsc70 chaperone is involved in disassembly of a plant virus.

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