Tenuivirus uses a molecular bridge strategy to overcome insect midgut barriers for virus persistent transmission
Many persistent transmitted plant viruses, including Rice stripe tenuivirus (RSV), cause serious damages to crop productions in China and worldwide. Although many reports have indicated that successful insect-mediated virus transmission depends on proper virus–insect vector interactions, the mechanism(s) controlling interactions between viruses and insect vectors for virus persistent transmission remained poorly understood. In this study, we used RSV and its small brown planthopper (SBPH) vector as a working model to elucidate the molecular mechanism controlling RSV virion entrance into SBPH midgut for persistent transmission. We have now demonstrated that this non-enveloped Tenuivirus uses its non-structural glycoprotein NSvc2 as a helper component to bridge the specific interaction between virion and SBPH midgut cells, leading to overcome SBPH midgut barriers for virus persistent transmission. In the absence of this glycoprotein, purified RSV virion is not capable of entering SBPH midgut cells. In RSV-infected cells, glycoprotein NSvc2 is processed into two mature proteins: an amino-terminal protein NSvc2-N and a carboxyl-terminal protein NSvc2-C. We determined that NSvc2-N interacted with RSV virion and bound directly to midgut lumen surface via its N-glycosylation sites. Upon recognition by midgut cells, the midgut cells underwent endocytosis followed by compartmentalizing RSV virion and NSvc2 into early and then late endosomes. The acidic condition inside the late endosome triggered conformation change of NSvc2-C and caused cell membrane fusion via its highly conserved fusion loop motifs, leading to the release of RSV virion from endosome into cytosol. In summary, our results showed for the first time that a rice Tenuivirus uses a molecular bridge strategy to ensure proper interactions between virus and insect midgut for successful persistent transmission.
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