The principal structural component of a retrovirus particle is the Gag protein. Retroviral genomic RNAs contain a 'packaging signal' ('Ψ') and are packaged in virus particles with very high selectivity. However, if no genomic RNA is present, Gag assembles into particles containing cellular mRNA molecules. The mechanism by which genomic RNA is normally selected during virus assembly is not understood. We previously reported (Comas-Garcia et al., 2017) that at physiological ionic strength, recombinant HIV-1 Gag binds with similar affinities to RNAs with or without Ψ, and proposed that genomic RNA is selectively packaged because binding to Ψ initiates particle assembly more efficiently than other RNAs. We now present data directly supporting this hypothesis. We also show that one or more short stretches of unpaired G residues are important elements of Ψ; Ψ may not be localized to a single structural element, but is probably distributed over >100 bases.
All data generated during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files.
- Mauricio Comas-Garcia
- Tomas Kroupa
- Siddhartha AK Datta
- Demetria P Harvin
- Wei-Shau Hu
- Alan Rein
- Mauricio Comas-Garcia
- Alan Rein
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Stephen P Goff, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University, United States
This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.
Purinergic signaling activated by extracellular nucleotides and their derivative nucleosides trigger sophisticated signaling networks. The outcome of these pathways determine the capacity of the organism to survive under challenging conditions. Both extracellular ATP (eATP) and Adenosine (eAdo) act as primary messengers in mammals, essential for immunosuppressive responses. Despite the clear role of eATP as a plant damage-associated molecular pattern, the function of its nucleoside, eAdo, and of the eAdo/eATP balance in plant stress response remain to be fully elucidated. This is particularly relevant in the context of plant-microbe interaction, where the intruder manipulates the extracellular matrix. Here, we identify Ado as a main molecule secreted by the vascular fungus Fusarium oxysporum. We show that eAdo modulates the plant's susceptibility to fungal colonization by altering the eATP-mediated apoplastic pH homeostasis, an essential physiological player during the infection of this pathogen. Our work indicates that plant pathogens actively imbalance the apoplastic eAdo/eATP levels as a virulence mechanism.
SARS-CoV-2 spike protein plays a key role in mediating viral entry and inducing host immune responses. It can adopt either an open or closed conformation based on the position of its receptor-binding domain (RBD). It is yet unclear what cause these conformational changes or how they influence the spike's functions. Here we show that Lys417 in the RBD plays dual roles in the spike's structure: it stabilizes the closed conformation of the trimeric spike by mediating inter-spike-subunit interactions; it also directly interacts with ACE2 receptor. Hence, a K417V mutation has opposing effects on the spike's function: it opens up the spike for better ACE2 binding while weakening the RBD's direct binding to ACE2. The net outcomes of this mutation are to allow the spike to bind ACE2 with higher probability, mediate viral entry more efficiently, but become more exposed to neutralizing antibodies. Given that residue 417 has been a viral mutational hotspot, SARS-CoV-2 may have been evolving to strike a balance between infection potency and immune evasion, contributing to its pandemic spread.