Cryo-EM Structure of Gokushovirus UEC6098 Reveals a Novel Capsid Architecture for a Single-Scaffolding Protein, Microvirus Assembly System

Hyunwook Lee, Alexis J. Baxter, Carol M. Bator, Bentley A. Fane, Susan L. Hafenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ubiquitous and abundant in ecosystems and microbiomes, gokushoviruses constitute a Microviridae subfamily, distantly related to bacteriophages UX174, a3, and G4. A high-resolution cryo-EM structure of gokushovirus UEC6098 was determined, and the atomic model was built de novo. Although gokushoviruses lack external scaffolding and spike proteins, which extensively interact with the UX174 capsid protein, the core of the UEC6098 coat protein (VP1) displayed a similar structure. There are, however, key differences. At each UEC6098 icosahedral 3-fold axis, a long insertion loop formed mushroom-like protrusions, which have been noted in lower-resolution gokushovirus structures. Hydrophobic interfaces at the bottom of these protrusions may confer stability to the capsid shell. In UX174, the N-terminus of the capsid protein resides directly atop the 3-fold axes of symmetry; however, the UEC6098 N-terminus stretched across the inner surface of the capsid shell, reaching nearly to the 5-fold axis of the neighboring pentamer. Thus, this extended N-terminus interconnected pentamers on the inside of the capsid shell, presumably promoting capsid assembly, a function performed by the UX174 external scaffolding protein. There were also key differences between the UX174-like DNA-binding J proteins and its UEC6098 homologue VP8. As seen with the J proteins, C-terminal VP8 residues were bound into a pocket within the major capsid protein; however, its N-terminal residues were disordered, likely due to flexibility. We show that the combined location and interaction of VP8's C-terminus and a portion of VP1's N-terminus are reminiscent of those seen with the UX174 and a3 J proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of virology
Volume96
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology

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