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Exploration of binary protein–protein interactions between tick-borne flaviviruses and Ixodes ricinus

Abstract : Background : Louping ill virus (LIV) and tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) are tick-borne flaviviruses that are both transmitted by the major European tick, Ixodes ricinus . Despite the importance of I. ricinus as an arthropod vector, its capacity to acquire and subsequently transmit viruses, known as vector competence, is poorly understood. At the molecular scale, vector competence is governed in part by binary interactions established between viral and cellular proteins within infected tick cells. Methods : To investigate virus-vector protein–protein interactions (PPIs), the entire set of open reading frames for LIV and TBEV was screened against an I. ricinus cDNA library established from three embryonic tick cell lines using yeast two-hybrid methodology (Y2H). PPIs revealed for each viral bait were retested in yeast by applying a gap repair (GR) strategy, and notably against the cognate protein of both viruses, to determine whether the PPIs were specific for a single virus or common to both. The interacting tick proteins were identified by automatic BLASTX, and in silico analyses were performed to expose the biological processes targeted by LIV and TBEV. Results : For each virus, we identified 24 different PPIs involving six viral proteins and 22 unique tick proteins, with all PPIs being common to both viruses. According to our data, several viral proteins (pM, M, NS2A, NS4A, 2K and NS5) target multiple tick protein modules implicated in critical biological pathways. Of note, the NS5 and pM viral proteins establish PPI with several tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor-associated factor (TRAF) proteins, which are essential adaptor proteins at the nexus of multiple signal transduction pathways. Conclusion : We provide the first description of the TBEV/LIV- I. ricinus PPI network, and indeed of any PPI network involving a tick-borne virus and its tick vector. While further investigation will be needed to elucidate the role of each tick protein in the replication cycle of tick-borne flaviviruses, our study provides a foundation for understanding the vector competence of I. ricinus at the molecular level. Indeed, certain PPIs may represent molecular determinants of vector competence of I. ricinus for TBEV and LIV, and potentially for other tick-borne flaviviruses.
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Submitted on : Monday, August 9, 2021 - 4:37:35 PM
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Manon Lemasson, Grégory Caignard, Yves Unterfinger, Houssam Attoui, Lesley Bell-Sakyi, et al.. Exploration of binary protein–protein interactions between tick-borne flaviviruses and Ixodes ricinus. Parasites & Vectors, 2021, 14 (1), pp.1-17. ⟨10.1186/s13071-021-04651-3⟩. ⟨hal-03318279⟩



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