Dimerization Efficiency of Canine Distemper Virus Matrix Protein Regulates Membrane-Budding Activity.

Bringolf, Fanny Anne; Herren, Michael; Wyss, Marianne; Vidondo, Beatriz; Langedijk, Johannes P; Zurbriggen, Andreas; Plattet, Philippe (2017). Dimerization Efficiency of Canine Distemper Virus Matrix Protein Regulates Membrane-Budding Activity. Journal of virology, 91(16), pp. 1-20. American Society for Microbiology 10.1128/JVI.00521-17

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Paramyxoviruses rely on the matrix (M) protein to orchestrate viral assembly and budding at the plasma membrane. Although the mechanistic details remain largely unknown, structural data suggested that M dimers and/or higher-order oligomers may facilitate membrane budding. To gain functional insights, we employed a structure-guided mutagenesis approach to investigate the role of canine distemper virus (CDV) M protein self-assembly in membrane-budding activity. Three six-alanine-block (6A-block) mutants with mutations located at strategic oligomeric positions were initially designed. While the first one includes residues potentially residing at the protomer-protomer interface, the other two display amino acids located within two distal surface-exposed α-helices proposed to be involved in dimer-dimer contacts. We further focused on the core of the dimeric interface by mutating asparagine 138 (N138) to several nonconservative amino acids. Cellular localization combined with dimerization and coimmunopurification assays, performed under various denaturing conditions, revealed that all 6A-block mutants were impaired in self-assembly and cell periphery accumulation. These phenotypes correlated with deficiencies in relocating CDV nucleocapsid proteins to the cell periphery and in virus-like particle (VLP) production. Conversely, all M-N138 mutants remained capable of self-assembly, though to various extents, which correlated with proper accumulation and redistribution of nucleocapsid proteins at the plasma membrane. However, membrane deformation and VLP assays indicated that the M-N138 variants exhibiting the most reduced dimerization propensity were also defective in triggering membrane remodeling and budding, despite proper plasma membrane accumulation. Overall, our data provide mechanistic evidence that the efficiency of CDV M dimerization/oligomerization governs both cell periphery localization and membrane-budding activity. Despite the availability of effective vaccines, both measles virus (MeV) and canine distemper virus (CDV) still lead to significant human and animal mortality worldwide. It is assumed that postexposure prophylaxis with specific antiviral compounds may synergize with vaccination campaigns to better control ongoing epidemics. Targeting the matrix (M) protein of MeV/CDV is attractive, because M coordinates viral assembly and egress through interaction with multiple cellular and viral components. However, the lack of basic molecular knowledge of how M orchestrates these functions precludes the rational design of antivirals. Here we combined structure-guided mutagenesis with cellular, biochemical, and functional assays to investigate a potential correlation between CDV M self-assembly and virus-like particle (VLP) formation. Altogether, our findings provide evidence that stable M dimers at the cell periphery are required to productively trigger VLPs. Such stabilized M dimeric units may facilitate further assembly into robust higher-order oligomers necessary to promote plasma membrane-budding activity.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Experimental Clinical Research
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute
05 Veterinary Medicine > Research Foci > NeuroCenter

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB)

UniBE Contributor:

Bringolf, Fanny Anne, Herren, Michael, Wyss, Marianne, Vidondo Curras, Beatriz Teresa, Zurbriggen, Andreas (A), Plattet, Philippe


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology




American Society for Microbiology




Philippe Plattet

Date Deposited:

05 Sep 2018 17:51

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2023 23:36

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

VLP production cell periphery accumulation dimerization efficiency matrix protein membrane deformation morbillivirus cell exit





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