Mutational analyses of the influenza A virus polymerase subunit PA reveal distinct functions related and unrelated to RNA polymerase activity

Yuhong Liang, Shamika Danzy, Luan Danh Dao, Tristram G. Parslow, Yuying Liang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Influenza A viral polymerase is a heterotrimeric complex that consists of PA, PB1, and PB2 subunits. We previously reported that a di-codon substitution mutation (G507A-R508A), denoted J10, in the C-terminal half of PA had no apparent effect on viral RNA synthesis but prevented infectious virus production, indicating that PA may have a novel role independent of its polymerase activity. To further examine the roles of PA in the viral life cycle, we have now generated and characterized additional mutations in regions flanking the J10 site from residues 497 to 518. All tested di-codon mutations completely abolished or significantly reduced viral infectivity, but they did so through disparate mechanisms. Several showed effects resembling those of J10, in that the mutant polymerase supported normal levels of viral RNA synthesis but nonetheless failed to generate infectious viral particles. Others eliminated polymerase activity, in most cases by perturbing the normal nuclear localization of PA protein in cells. We also engineered single-codon mutations that were predicted to pack near the J10 site in the crystal structure of PA, and found that altering residues K378 or D478 each produced a J10-like phenotype. In further studies of J10 itself, we found that this mutation does not affect the formation and release of virion-like particles per se, but instead impairs the ability of those particles to incorporate each of the eight essential RNA segments (vRNAs) that make up the viral genome. Taken together, our analysis identifies mutations in the C-terminal region of PA that differentially affect at least three distinct activities: protein nuclear localization, viral RNA synthesis, and a trans-acting function that is required for efficient packaging of all eight vRNAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere29485
JournalPloS one
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 6 2012

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Mutational analyses of the influenza A virus polymerase subunit PA reveal distinct functions related and unrelated to RNA polymerase activity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this