12:00noon Monday 16th March
Room 208, 2nd floor,
720 Cumberland Street
Microbiology and Immunology, University of Otago
'Manipulation of the host cell cycle by murine norovirus VPg'
The VPg protein of murine norovirus has been shown to manipulate the G0/G1 phase of the host cell cycle to induce a beneficial replication environment. This project aimed to further characterise the interaction between norovirus VPg proteins and the cell cycle. A G0/G1 cell cycle arrest was observed for all norovirus VPg proteins tested and representative VPg proteins from the Lagovirus and Sapovirus genera. That manipulation of the cell cycle is a highly conserved function suggests that it is likely to be important for the viral lifecycle. Alignment of VPg protein sequences revealed a conserved N-terminal motif that was required for the G0/G1 arrest. Mutation of lysine and arginine residues within this motif reduced the arrest confirming the importance of positively charged residues for this activity. Analysis of the N-terminal motif suggested that it might be involved in RNA binding or an interaction with the host factor eIF4E, both of which remain as possible mechanisms by which MNV VPg may manipulate the cell cycle.