The coordinating role of the human norovirus minor capsid protein VP2 is essential to functional change and nuclear localization of the major capsid protein VP1
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Global outbreaks of norovirus (NOV) gastroenteritis are associated with the most prevalent genotype, GII.4. Mutations in the protruding domain 2 (P2 domain) of the norovirus major capsid protein (VP1) result in the emergence of various NOV variants, however, it is unclear whether the minor capsid protein (VP2) also affects the generation of VP1 variants. In this study, using a human 293T expression system, we investigated the interactions of VP1 and VP2 of three GII.4 strains, focusing on the changes in expression and cellular localization. We found that co-transfection with VP1 and VP2 leads to a significant increase in expression of both proteins compared to that in cells transfected with VP1 or VP2 alone. In contrast to VP1 expressed in the absence of VP2, which was dispersed throughout the cytosol, VP2 expressed in the absence of VP1 was found to be located in the nucleus. This could be attributed to a predicted specific nuclear localization signal found in this gene. When both proteins were expressed, VP1 was found together with VP2 in the nucleus. These results thus suggest that the VP2 of GII.4 NOVs affects the function and cellular location of VP1 and that, with the cooperation of VP2, VP1 could play a critical role in affecting cell functions by impairing the downstream transcriptional signaling and chromatin remodeling in the cell nuclei.
This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81470829 to JZ).
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
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