Archives of Virology

, Volume 157, Issue 2, pp 305–314 | Cite as

The molecular biology of rotaviruses X: intercellular dissemination of rotavirus NSP4 requires glycosylation and is mediated by direct cell-cell contact through cytoplasmic extrusions

  • Weiming Yang
  • Malcolm A. McCraeEmail author
Original Article


The effect of expressing the NSP4 protein of group A rotaviruses in cells has been studied. It led to the rapid appearance of long cytoplasmic extrusions, which, through site-directed mutagenesis of the N-linked glycosylation sites near the amino terminus of the protein, were shown to be dependent on its ability to become fully glycosylated. Real-time confocal microscopy was used to follow the appearance of similar cytoplasmic extrusions in virus-infected cells and revealed them to grow at a rate of ~2 microns/min to more than three cell diameters and to have a lifespan of 30-60 minutes. CellTracker dyes were used to label cell populations and facilitate the monitoring of the transfer of cytoplasm from virus-infected to surrounding uninfected cells through cytoplasmic extrusions that broke down to vesicles, seen both on the surface of and within uninfected cells in mixed cell populations. Staining of these tagged cell mixtures with monospecific antibody to NSP4 revealed the presence of the protein on uninfected cells, suggesting that the cytoplasmic extrusions formed by virus-infected cells facilitates the direct cell-cell spread of NSP4. This direct cell-cell transfer of infected cell material triggered by expression of glycosylated NSP4 in virus-infected cells may contribute to viral pathogenesis and facilitate host invasion by rotaviruses.


Glyco Tunicamycin Uninfected Cell NSP4 Cell Monospecific Antiserum 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Supplementary material

705_2011_1174_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2.5 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 2521 kb)

Movie S1 This movie was constructed by compiling sequential confocal images of a rotavirus infected cell taken at 20min intervals beginning at 12 hours post infection (pi) and extending until 15 hours and 20mins pi (AVI 385 kb)

Movie S2 This movie was constructed by compiling sequential confocal images of a rotavirus infected cell with established cytoplasmic extrusions taken at less than one second intervals beginning at 14 hours and 2mins pi and extending until 14 hours and 5mins 20secs pi (AVI 4651 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life SciencesUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK

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