Vaccinia virus egress mediated by virus protein A36 is reliant on the F12 protein

25 Aug 2017

Egress of vaccinia virus from its host cell is mediated by the microtubule-associated motor kinesin-1, and three viral proteins, A36 and the F12/E2 complex, have been implicated in this process. Deletion of F12 expression causes a more severe reduction in egress than deletion of A36 but whether these proteins are involved in the same or different mechanisms of kinesin-1 recruitment is unknown. Here it is shown that a virus lacking both proteins forms a smaller plaque than mutants lacking either gene alone, indicating non-redundant functions. A36 not only links virions directly to kinesin-1 but also nucleates actin polymerization to propel surface virions away from the host cell. To address the relative importance of these functions for virus spread, a panel of recombinant viruses was constructed in which the ability of A36 to bind kinesin-1 or to nucleate actin polymerization was abrogated individually or together, in the presence or absence of F12 expression. Analysis of these viruses revealed that in the presence of the F12 protein, loss of kinesin-1 interaction made a greater contribution to plaque size than did the formation of actin tails. However in the absence of F12, the ability of A36 to promote egress was abrogated. Therefore, the ability of A36 to promote egress by kinesin-1 is reliant on the F12 protein.