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Novel Function of Bluetongue Virus NS3 Protein in Regulation of the MAPK/ERK Signaling Pathway

Abstract : Bluetongue virus (BTV) is an arbovirus transmitted by blood-feeding midges to a wide range of wild and domestic ruminants. In this report, we showed that BTV, through its nonstructural protein NS3 (BTV-NS3), is able to activate the mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (MAPK/ERK) pathway, as assessed by phosphorylation levels of ERK1/2 and the translation initiation factor eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E). By combining immunoprecipitation of BTV-NS3 and mass spectrometry analysis from both BTV-infected and NS3-transfected cells, we identified the serine/threonine-protein kinase B-Raf (BRAF), a crucial player in the MAPK/ERK pathway, as a new cellular interactor of BTV-NS3. BRAF silencing led to a significant decrease in the MAPK/ERK activation by BTV, supporting a model wherein BTV-NS3 interacts with BRAF to activate this signaling cascade. This positive regulation acts independently of the role of BTV-NS3 in counteracting the induction of the alpha/beta interferon response. Furthermore, the intrinsic ability of BTV-NS3 to bind BRAF and activate the MAPK/ERK pathway is conserved throughout multiple serotypes/strains but appears to be specific to BTV compared to other members of Orbivirus genus. Inhibition of MAPK/ERK pathway with U0126 reduced viral titers, suggesting that BTV manipulates this pathway for its own replication. Altogether, our data provide molecular mechanisms that unravel a new essential function of NS3 during BTV infection. IMPORTANCE Bluetongue virus (BTV) is responsible of the arthropod-borne disease bluetongue (BT) transmitted to ruminants by blood-feeding midges. In this report, we found that BTV, through its nonstructural protein NS3 (BTV-NS3), interacts with BRAF, a key component of the MAPK/ERK pathway. In response to growth factors, this pathway promotes cell survival and increases protein translation. We showed that BTV-NS3 enhances the MAPK/ERK pathway, and this activation is BRAF dependent. Treatment of MAPK/ERK pathway with the pharmacologic inhibitor U0126 impairs viral replication, suggesting that BTV manipulates this pathway for its own benefit. Our results illustrate, at the molecular level, how a single virulence factor has evolved to target a cellular function to increase its viral replication.
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Submitted on : Thursday, July 2, 2020 - 3:55:41 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 7:35:54 AM

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Cindy Kundlacz, Marie Pourcelot, Aurore Fablet, Rayane Amaral da Silva Moraes, Thibaut Léger, et al.. Novel Function of Bluetongue Virus NS3 Protein in Regulation of the MAPK/ERK Signaling Pathway. Journal of Virology, American Society for Microbiology, 2019, 93 (16), ⟨10.1128/JVI.00336-19⟩. ⟨hal-02887949⟩



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