Components of the reovirus capsid differentially contribute to stability

Anthony J. Snyder, Joseph Che Yen Wang, Pranav Danthi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The mammalian orthoreovirus (reovirus) outer capsid is composed of 200 1-3 heterohexamers and a maximum of 12 1 trimers. During cell entry, 3 is degraded by luminal or intracellular proteases to generate the infectious subviral particle (ISVP). When ISVP formation is prevented, reovirus fails to establish a productive infection, suggesting proteolytic priming is required for entry. ISVPs are then converted to ISVP*s, which is accompanied by 1 rearrangements. The 1 and 3 proteins confer resistance to inactivating agents; however, neither the impact on capsid properties nor the mechanism (or basis) of inactivation is fully understood. Here, we utilized T1L/T3D M2 and T3D/T1L S4 to investigate the determinants of reovirus stability. Both reassortants encode mismatched subunits. When 1-3 were derived from different strains, virions resembled wild-type particles in structure and protease sensitivity. T1L/T3D M2 and T3D/T1L S4 ISVPs were less thermostable than wild-type ISVPs. In contrast, virions were equally susceptible to heating. Virion associated 1 adopted an ISVP*-like conformation concurrent with inactivation; 3 preserves infectivity by preventing 1 rearrangements. Moreover, thermostability was enhanced by a hyperstable variant of 1. Unlike the outer capsid, the inner capsid (core) was highly resistant to elevated temperatures. The dual layered architecture allowed for differential sensitivity to inactivating agents. IMPORTANCE Nonenveloped and enveloped viruses are exposed to the environment during transmission to a new host. Protein-protein and/or protein-lipid interactions stabilize the particle and protect the viral genome. Mammalian orthoreovirus (reovirus) is composed of two concentric, protein shells. The 1 and 3 proteins form the outer capsid; contacts between neighboring subunits are thought to confer resistance to inactivating agents. We further investigated the determinants of reovirus stability. The outer capsid was disrupted concurrent with the loss of infectivity; virion associated 1 rearranged into an altered conformation. Heat sensitivity was controlled by 3; however, particle integrity was enhanced by a single 1 mutation. In contrast, the inner capsid (core) displayed superior resistance to heating. These findings reveal structural components that differentially contribute to reovirus stability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01894-18
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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