Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 16306588
J. Virol. 2005 Dec;79(24):15165-74
The outer shell of the rotavirus triple-layered virion is lost during cell entry, yielding a double-layered particle (DLP) that directs synthesis of viral plus-strand RNAs. The plus-strand RNAs act as templates for synthesis of the segmented double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) genome in viral inclusion bodies (viroplasms). The viral endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident glycoprotein NSP4 recruits progeny DLPs formed in viroplasms to the ER, where the particles are converted to triple-layered particles (TLPs) via budding. In this study, we have used short interfering RNAs to probe the role of NSP4 in the viral life cycle. Our analysis showed that knockdown of NSP4 expression had no marked effect on the expression of other viral proteins or on the replication of the dsRNA genome segments. However, NSP4 loss of function suppressed viroplasm maturation and caused a maldistribution of nonstructural and structural proteins that normally accumulate in viroplasms. NSP4 loss of function also inhibited formation of packaged virus particles, instead inducing the accumulation of empty particles. Most significant was the observation that NSP4 knockdown led to dramatically increased levels of viral transcription late in the infection cycle. These findings point to a multifaceted role for NSP4 in virus replication, including influencing the development of viroplasms, linking genome packaging with particle assembly, and acting as a modulator of viral transcription. By recruiting transcriptionally active or potentially active DLPs to the ER for conversion to quiescent TLPs, NSP4 acts as a feedback inhibitor down-regulating viral transcription when adequate levels of plus-strand RNAs are available to allow for productive infection.