Wongabel rhabdovirus accessory protein U3 targets the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex

D Albert Joubert, Julio Rodriguez-Andres, Paul Monaghan, Michelle Cummins, William J McKinstry, Prasad N Paradkar, Gregory W Moseley, Peter J Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Wongabel virus (WONV) is an arthropod-borne rhabdovirus that infects birds. It is one of the growing array of rhabdoviruses with complex genomes that encode multiple accessory proteins of unknown function. In addition to the five canonical rhabdovirus structural protein genes (N, P, M, G, and L), the 13.2-kb negative-sense single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) WONV genome contains five uncharacterized accessory genes, one overlapping the N gene (Nx or U4), three located between the P and Mgenes (U1 to U3), and a fifth one overlapping the G gene (Gx or U5). Here we show that WONV U3 is expressed during infection in insect and mammalian cells and is required for efficient viral replication. A yeast two-hybrid screen against a mosquito cell cDNA library identified that WONV U3 interacts with the 83-amino-acid (aa) C-terminal domain of SNF5, a component of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex. The interaction was confirmed by affinity chromatography, and nuclear colocalization was established by confocal microscopy. Gene expression studies showed that SNF5 transcripts are upregulated during infection of mosquito cells with WONV, as well as West Nile virus (Flaviviridae) and bovine ephemeral fever virus (Rhabdoviridae), and that SNF5 knockdown results in increased WONV replication. WONV U3 also inhibits SNF5-regulated expression of the cytokine gene CSF1. The data suggest that WONV U3 targets the SWI/SNF complex to block the host response to infection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1377-1388
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Cite this