Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 33547379
Link to DOI – 10.1038/s41598-021-82751-x
Sci Rep 2021 Feb; 11(1): 3266
West Nile virus (WNV) is a Flavivirus, which can cause febrile illness in humans that may progress to encephalitis. Like any other obligate intracellular pathogens, Flaviviruses hijack cellular protein functions as a strategy for sustaining their life cycle. Many cellular proteins display globular domain known as PDZ domain that interacts with PDZ-Binding Motifs (PBM) identified in many viral proteins. Thus, cellular PDZ-containing proteins are common targets during viral infection. The non-structural protein 5 (NS5) from WNV provides both RNA cap methyltransferase and RNA polymerase activities and is involved in viral replication but its interactions with host proteins remain poorly known. In this study, we demonstrate that the C-terminal PBM of WNV NS5 recognizes several human PDZ-containing proteins using both in vitro and in cellulo high-throughput methods. Furthermore, we constructed and assayed in cell culture WNV replicons where the PBM within NS5 was mutated. Our results demonstrate that the PBM of WNV NS5 is important in WNV replication. Moreover, we show that knockdown of the PDZ-containing proteins TJP1, PARD3, ARHGAP21 or SHANK2 results in the decrease of WNV replication in cells. Altogether, our data reveal that interactions between the PBM of NS5 and PDZ-containing proteins affect West Nile virus replication.