A dynein light chain 1 binding motif in rabies virus polymerase l protein plays a role in microtubule reorganization and viral primary transcription

Anja Bauer, Tobias Nolden, Sabine Nemitz, Eran Perlson, Stefan Finkea*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Rabies virus (RABV) polymerase L together with phosphoprotein P forms the PL polymerase complex that is essential for replication and transcription. However, its exact mechanism of action, interactions with cellular factors, and intracellular distribution are yet to be understood. Here by imaging a fluorescently tagged polymerase (mCherry-RABV-L), we show that L accumulates at acetylated and reorganized microtubules (MT). In silico analysis revealed a dynein light chain 1 (DLC1) binding motif in L that could mediate MT binding through dynein motors. As DLC1 binding by polymerase cofactor P is known, we compared the impact of the DLC1-binding motifs in P and L. Viruses with mutations in the respective motifs revealed that both motifs are required for efficient primary transcription, indicating that DLC1 acts as a transcription enhancer by binding to both P and L. Notably, also the levels of cellular DLC1 protein were regulated by both motifs, suggesting regulation of the DLC1 gene expression by both P and L. Finally, disruption of the motif in L resulted in a cell-type-specific loss of MT localization, demonstrating that DLC1 is involved in L-mediated cytoskeleton reorganization. Overall, we conclude that DLC1 acts as a transcription factor that stimulates primary RABV transcription by binding to both P and L. We further conclude that L influences MT organization and posttranslational modification, suggesting a model in which MT manipulation by L contributes to efficient intracellular transport of virus components and thus may serve as an important step in virus replication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9591-9600
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Virology
Volume89
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

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