Synaptogyrin-2 is a non-neuronal member of the synaptogyrin family involved in synaptic vesicle biogenesis and trafficking. Little is known about the function of synaptogyrin-2. Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is an emerging infectious disease characterized by high fever, thrombocytopenia, and leukocytopenia with high mortality, caused by a novel tick-borne phlebovirus in the family Bunyaviridae. Our previous studies have shown that the viral nonstructural protein NSs forms inclusion bodies (IBs) that are involved in viral immune evasion, as well as viral RNA replication. In this study, we sought to elucidate the mechanism by which NSs formed the IBs, a lipid droplet-based structure confirmed by NSs co-localization with perilipin A and adipose differentiation-related protein (ADRP). Through a high throughput screening, we identified synaptogyrin-2 to be highly up-regulated in response to SFTS bunyavirus (SFTSV) infection and to be a promoter of viral replication. We demonstrated that synaptogyrin-2 interacted with NSs and was translocated into the IBs, which were reconstructed from lipid droplets into large structures in infection. Viral RNA replication decreased, and infectious virus titers were lowered significantly when synaptogyrin-2 was silenced in specific shRNA-expressing cells, which correlated with the reduced number of the large IBs restructured from regular lipid droplets. We hypothesize that synaptogyrin-2 is essential to promoting the formation of the IBs to become virus factories for viral RNA replication through its interaction with NSs. These findings unveil the function of synaptogyrin-2 as an enhancer in viral infection.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China Grant 81571993, Grant 2014ZX10004001-002 from the Mega Infectious Diseases Program from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (to ZX), 973 Grant (2011CB504705 from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (to M. L. and D. L.), and Grant BK20131450 from the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (to X. Q.). The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest with the contents of this article. We thank Sandy Shanks for dedicated and excellent work in editing the manuscript.