Glycan-shielded homodimer structure and dynamical features of the canine distemper virus hemagglutinin relevant for viral entry and efficient vaccination

  1. Laboratory of Biomolecular Science and Center for Research and Education on Drug Discovery, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Hokkaido University, Kita-12, Nishi-6, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-0812, Japan.
  2. Division of Pathogen Structure, Research Center for Zoonosis Control, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan.
  3. Medical Institute of Bioregulation, Kyushu University, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan.
  4. Department of Virology, Faculty of Medicine, Kyushu University, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan.
  5. Institute for Enzyme Research, University of Tokushima, 3-18-15 Kuramoto-cho, Tokushima 770-8503, Japan.
  6. Department of Microbiology, Graduate School of Medicine and Faculty of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.
  7. Institute for Vaccine Research and Development (HU-IVReD), Hokkaido University; Sapporo, Japan
  8. Global Station for Biosurfaces and Drug Discovery, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
  9. Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology, Japan Science and Technology Agency, 4-1-8, Honcho Kawaguchi, Saitama 332-0012, Japan.

Peer review process

Not revised: This Reviewed Preprint includes the authors’ original preprint (without revision), an eLife assessment, and public reviews.

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  • Reviewing Editor
    Goran Bajic
    Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, United States of America
  • Senior Editor
    Diane Harper
    University of Michiganâ€Ann Arbor", Ann Arbor, United States of America

Reviewer #1 (Public Review):

Fukuhara, Maenaka, and colleagues report a crystal structure of the canine distemper virus (CDV) attachment hemagglutinin protein globular domain. The structure shows a dimeric organization of the viral protein and describes the detailed amino-acid side chain interactions between the two protomers. The authors also use their best judgement to comment on predicted sites for the two cellular receptors - Nectin-4 and SLAM - and thus speculate on the CDV host tropism. A complementary AFM study suggests a breathing movement at the hemagglutinin dimer interface.

The study of CDV and related Paramyxoviruses is significant for human/animal health and is very timely. The crystallographic data seem to be of good quality.

While the recent CDV hemagglutinin cryo-EM structure is mentioned, it is not compared to the present crystal structure, and thus the context of the present study is poorly justified. Additionally, the results of the AFM experiment are not unexpected. Indeed, other paramyxoviral RBP/G proteins also show movement at the protomer interface.

Reviewer #2 (Public Review):

The authors solved the crystal structure of CDV H-protein head domain at 3,2 A resolution to better understand the detailed mechanism of membrane fusion triggering. The structure clearly showed that the orientation of the H monomers in the homodimer was similar to that of measles virus H and different from other paramyxoviruses. The authors used the available co-crystal strictures of the closely related measles virus H structures with the SLAM and Nectin4 receptors to map the receptor binding site on CDV H. The authors also confirmed which N-linked sites were glycosylated in the CDV H protein and showed that both wildtype and vaccine strains of CDV H have the same glycosylation pattern. The authors documented that the glycans cover a vast majority of the H surface while leaving the receptor binding site exposed, which may in part explain the long-term success of measles virus and CDV vaccines. Finally, the authors used HS-AFM to visualize the real-time dynamic characteristics of CDV-H under physiological conditions. This analysis indicated that homodimers may dissociate into monomers, which has implications for the model of fusion triggering.

The structural data and analysis were thorough and well-presented. However, the HS-AFM data, while very exciting, was not presented in a manner that could be easily grasped by readers of this manuscript. I have some suggestions for improvement.

  1. The authors claim their structure is very similar to the recently published croy-EM structure of CDV H. Can the authors provide us with a quantitative assessment of this statement?

  2. The results for the HS-AFM are difficult to follow and it is not clear how the authors came to their conclusions. Can the authors better explain this data and justify their conclusions based on it?

  3. The fusion triggering model in Figure 8 is ambiguous as to when H-F interactions are occurring and when they may be disrupted. The authors should clarify this point in their model.

  1. Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  2. Wellcome Trust
  3. Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
  4. Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation