The interferon-inducible transmembrane (IFITM) proteins belong to the Dispanin/CD225 family and inhibit diverse virus infections. IFITM3 reduces membrane fusion between cells and virions through a poorly characterized mechanism. Mutation of proline rich transmembrane protein 2 (PRRT2), a regulator of neurotransmitter release, at glycine-305 was previously linked to paroxysmal neurological disorders in humans. Here, we show that glycine-305 and the homologous site in IFITM3, glycine-95, drive protein oligomerization from within a GxxxG motif. Mutation of glycine-95 (and to a lesser extent, glycine-91) disrupted IFITM3 oligomerization and reduced its antiviral activity against Influenza A virus. An oligomerization-defective variant was used to reveal that IFITM3 promotes membrane rigidity in a glycine-95-dependent and amphipathic helix-dependent manner. Furthermore, a compound which counteracts virus inhibition by IFITM3, amphotericin B, prevented the IFITM3-mediated rigidification of membranes. Overall, these data suggest that IFITM3 oligomers inhibit virus-cell fusion by promoting membrane rigidity.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files.
- Kazi Rahman
- Charles A Coomer
- Saliha Majdoul
- Selena Y Ding
- Alex A Compton
- Sergi Padilla-Parra
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Mark Marsh, University Coillege London, United Kingdom
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.
Despite decades of research, knowledge about the genes that are important for development and function of the mammalian eye and are involved in human eye disorders remains incomplete. During mammalian evolution, mammals that naturally exhibit poor vision or regressive eye phenotypes have independently lost many eye-related genes. This provides an opportunity to predict novel eye-related genes based on specific evolutionary gene loss signatures. Building on these observations, we performed a genome-wide screen across 49 mammals for functionally uncharacterized genes that are preferentially lost in species exhibiting lower visual acuity values. The screen uncovered several genes, including SERPINE3, a putative serine proteinase inhibitor. A detailed investigation of 381 additional mammals revealed that SERPINE3 is independently lost in 18 lineages that typically do not primarily rely on vision, predicting a vision-related function for this gene. To test this, we show that SERPINE3 has the highest expression in eyes of zebrafish and mouse. In the zebrafish retina, serpine3 is expressed in Müller glia cells, a cell type essential for survival and maintenance of the retina. A CRISPR-mediated knockout of serpine3 in zebrafish resulted in alterations in eye shape and defects in retinal layering. Furthermore, two human polymorphisms that are in linkage with SERPINE3 are associated with eye-related traits. Together, these results suggest that SERPINE3 has a role in vertebrate eyes. More generally, by integrating comparative genomics with experiments in model organisms, we show that screens for specific phenotype-associated gene signatures can predict functions of uncharacterized genes.
Comparing the genomes of mammals which evolved to have poor vision identifies an important gene for eyesight.