The role of oligomerization for the biological functions of the arenavirus nucleoprotein

Archives of Virology
Frank LennartzWolfgang Garten


The Lassa virus nucleoprotein (NP) is a multifunctional protein that plays an essential role in many aspects of the viral life cycle, including RNA encapsidation, viral transcription and replication, recruitment of ribonucleoprotein complexes to viral budding sites, and inhibition of the host cell interferon response. While it is known that NP is capable of forming oligomers, both the oligomeric state of NP in mammalian cells and the significance of NP oligomerization for its various functions remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that Lassa virus NP solely forms trimers upon expression in mammalian cells. Using a minigenome assay we show that mutants that are not able to form stable trimers are no longer functional during transcription and/or replication of the minigenome, indicating that NP trimerization is essential for transcription and/or replication of the viral genome. However, mutations leading to destabilization of the NP trimer did not impact the incorporation of NP into virus-like particles or its ability to suppress interferon-induced gene expression, two important functions of arenavirus NP.


Oct 12, 2000·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·C F BaslerP Palese
Sep 13, 2003·Journal of Virology·Rodrigo JácamoMaría T Franze-Fernández
Oct 19, 2004·Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences·Stephan Günther, Oliver Lenz
Nov 27, 2004·Journal of Virology·Meike HassStephan Günther
Jun 24, 2005·PLoS Medicine·Thomas W GeisbertHeinz Feldmann
Sep 7, 2007·Journal of Virology·Luis Martínez-SobridoJuan Carlos de la Torre
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Dec 19, 2009·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·Christopher R KimberlinErica Ollmann Saphire
Jan 15, 2010·Journal of Virology·Katrin SchlieWolfgang Garten
Jan 29, 2010·Journal of Virology·Allison GrosethStephan Becker
Nov 19, 2010·Nature·Xiaoxuan QiChangjiang Dong
Dec 17, 2010·Journal of Virology·Jesica M Levingston MacleodNora Lopez
Jan 26, 2011·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·Kathryn M HastieErica Ollmann Saphire
Aug 10, 2011·Current Opinion in Microbiology·Rob W H RuigrokDan Kolakofsky
Nov 16, 2011·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·Kathryn M HastieErica Ollmann Saphire

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