Requirement of a functional ion channel for Sindbis virus glycoprotein transport, CPV-II formation, and efficient virus budding

Zeinab Elmasri, Vashi Negi, Richard J. Kuhn, Joyce Jose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Many viruses encode ion channel proteins that oligomerize to form hydrophilic pores in membranes of virus-infected cells and the viral membrane in some enveloped viruses. Alphavirus 6K, human immunodeficiency virus type 1 Vpu (HIV-Vpu), influenza A virus M2 (IAV-M2), and hepatitis C virus P7 (HCV-P7) are transmembrane ion channel proteins that play essential roles in virus assembly, budding, and entry. While the oligomeric structures and mechanisms of ion channel activity are well-established for M2 and P7, these remain unknown for 6K. Here we investigated the functional role of the ion channel activity of 6K in alphavirus assembly by utilizing a series of Sindbis virus (SINV) ion channel chimeras expressing the ion channel helix from Vpu or M2 or substituting the entire 6K protein with full-length P7, in cis. We demonstrate that the Vpu helix efficiently complements 6K, whereas M2 and P7 are less efficient. Our results indicate that while SINV is primarily insensitive to the M2 ion channel inhibitor amantadine, the Vpu inhibitor 5-N, N-Hexamethylene amiloride (HMA), significantly reduces SINV release, suggesting that the ion channel activity of 6K is similar to Vpu, promotes virus budding. Using live-cell imaging of SINV with a miniSOG-tagged 6K and mCherry-tagged E2, we further demonstrate that 6K and E2 colocalize with the Golgi apparatus in the secretory pathway. To contextualize the localization of 6K in the Golgi, we analyzed cells infected with SINV and SINV-ion channel chimeras using transmission electron microscopy. Our results provide evidence for the first time for the functional role of 6K in type II cytopathic vacuoles (CPV-II) formation. We demonstrate that in the absence of 6K, CPV-II, which originates from the Golgi apparatus, is not detected in infected cells, with a concomitant reduction in the glycoprotein transport to the plasma membrane. Substituting a functional ion channel, M2 or Vpu localizing to Golgi, restores CPV-II production, whereas P7, retained in the ER, is inadequate to induce CPV-II formation. Altogether our results indicate that ion channel activity of 6K is required for the formation of CPV-II from the Golgi apparatus, promoting glycoprotein spike transport to the plasma membrane and efficient virus budding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1010892
JournalPLoS pathogens
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Virology


Dive into the research topics of 'Requirement of a functional ion channel for Sindbis virus glycoprotein transport, CPV-II formation, and efficient virus budding'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this