Efficient budding of the tacaribe virus matrix protein z requires the nucleoprotein.

Journal of Virology
Allison GrosethS Becker


The Z protein has been shown for several arenaviruses to serve as the viral matrix protein. As such, Z provides the principal force for the budding of virus particles and is capable of forming virus-like particles (VLPs) when expressed alone. For most arenaviruses, this activity has been shown to be linked to the presence of proline-rich late-domain motifs in the C terminus; however, for the New World arenavirus Tacaribe virus (TCRV), no such motif exists within Z. It was recently demonstrated that while TCRV Z is still capable of functioning as a matrix protein to induce the formation of VLPs, neither its ASAP motif, which replaces a canonical PT/SAP motif in related viruses, nor its YxxL motif is involved in budding, leading to the suggestion that TCRV uses a novel budding mechanism. Here we show that in comparison to its closest relative, Junin virus (JUNV), TCRV Z buds only weakly when expressed in isolation. While this budding activity is independent of the ASAP or YxxL motif, it is significantly enhanced by coexpression with the nucleoprotein (NP), an effect not seen with JUNV Z. Interestingly, both the ASAP and YxxL motifs of Z appear to be critical for the recruitment of NP into VLPs, as well as for the enhancement of T...Continue Reading


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