Asymmetric packaging of polymerases within vesicular stomatitis virus. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) is a prototypic negative sense single-stranded RNA virus. The bullet-shape appearance of the virion results from tightly wound helical turns of the nucleoprotein encapsidated RNA template (N-RNA) around a central cavity. Transcription and replication require polymerase complexes, which include a catalytic subunit L and a template-binding subunit P. L and P are inferred to be in the cavity, however lacking direct observation, their exact position has remained unclear. Using super-resolution fluorescence imaging and atomic force microscopy (AFM) on single VSV virions, we show that L and P are packaged asymmetrically towards the blunt end of the virus. The number of L and P proteins varies between individual virions and they occupy 57 ± 12 nm of the 150 nm central cavity of the virus. Our finding positions the polymerases at the opposite end of the genome with respect to the only transcriptional promoter.

publication date

  • October 18, 2013