The transformation of enterovirus replication structures: a three-dimensional study of single- and double-membrane compartments
SourceMbio, 2, 5, (2011), pp. pii: e00166-11
Article / Letter to editor
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p. pii: e00166-11
p. pii: e00166-11
SubjectN4i 1: Pathogenesis and modulation of inflammation NCMLS 1: Infection and autoimmunity
All positive-strand RNA viruses induce membrane structures in their host cells which are thought to serve as suitable microenvironments for viral RNA synthesis. The structures induced by enteroviruses, which are members of the family Picornaviridae, have so far been described as either single- or double-membrane vesicles (DMVs). Aside from the number of delimiting membranes, their exact architecture has also remained elusive due to the limitations of conventional electron microscopy. In this study, we used electron tomography (ET) to solve the three-dimensional (3-D) ultrastructure of these compartments. At different time points postinfection, coxsackievirus B3-infected cells were high-pressure frozen and freeze-substituted for ET analysis. The tomograms showed that during the exponential phase of viral RNA synthesis, closed smooth single-membrane tubules constituted the predominant virus-induced membrane structure, with a minor proportion of DMVs that were either closed or connected to the cytosol in a vase-like configuration. As infection progressed, the DMV number steadily increased, while the tubular single-membrane structures gradually disappeared. Late in infection, complex multilamellar structures, previously unreported, became apparent in the cytoplasm. Serial tomography disclosed that their basic unit is a DMV, which is enwrapped by one or multiple cisternae. ET also revealed striking intermediate structures that strongly support the conversion of single-membrane tubules into double-membrane and multilamellar structures by a process of membrane apposition, enwrapping, and fusion. Collectively, our work unravels the sequential appearance of distinct enterovirus-induced replication structures, elucidates their detailed 3-D architecture, and provides the basis for a model for their transformation during the course of infection. IMPORTANCE: Positive-strand RNA viruses hijack specific intracellular membranes and remodel them into special structures that support viral RNA synthesis. The ultrastructural characterization of these "replication structures" is key to understanding their precise role. Here, we resolved the three-dimensional architecture of enterovirus-induced membranous compartments and their transformation in time by applying electron tomography to cells infected with coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3). Our results show that closed single-membrane tubules are the predominant initial virus-induced structure, whereas double-membrane vesicles (DMVs) become increasingly abundant at the expense of these tubules as infection progresses. Additionally, more complex multilamellar structures appear late in infection. Based on compelling intermediate structures in our tomograms, we propose a model for transformation from the tubules to DMVs and multilamellar structures via enwrapping events. Our work provides an in-depth analysis of the development of an unsuspected variety of distinct replication structures during the course of CVB3 infection.
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