Classified as a biosafety level 4 (BSL4) select agent, Nipah virus (NiV) is a deadly henipavirus in the Paramyxoviridae family, with a nearly 75% mortality rate in humans, underscoring its global and animal health importance. Elucidating the process of viral particle production in host cells is imperative both for targeted drug design and viral particle-based vaccine development. However, little is understood concerning the functions of cellular machinery in paramyxoviral and henipaviral assembly and budding. Recent studies showed evidence for the involvement of multiple NiV proteins in viral particle formation, in contrast to the mechanisms understood for several paramyxoviruses as being reliant on the matrix (M) protein alone. Further, the levels and purposes of cellular factor incorporation into viral particles are largely unexplored for the paramyxoviruses. To better understand the involvement of cellular machinery and the major structural viral fusion (F), attachment (G), and matrix (M) proteins, we performed proteomics analyses on virus-like particles (VLPs) produced from several combinations of these NiV proteins. Our findings indicate that NiV VLPs incorporate vesicular trafficking and actin cytoskeletal factors. The involvement of these biological processes was validated by experiments indicating that the perturbation of key factors in these cellular processes substantially modulated viral particle formation. These effects were most impacted for NiV-F-modulated viral particle formation either autonomously or in combination with other NiV proteins, indicating that NiV-F budding relies heavily on these cellular processes. These findings indicate a significant involvement of the NiV fusion protein, vesicular trafficking, and actin cytoskeletal processes in efficient viral particle formation.

IMPORTANCE Nipah virus is a zoonotic biosafety level 4 agent with high mortality rates in humans. The genus to which Nipah virus belongs, Henipavirus, includes five officially recognized pathogens; however, over 20 species have been identified in multiple continents within the last several years. As there are still no vaccines or treatments for NiV infection, elucidating its process of viral particle production is imperative both for targeted drug design as well as for particle-based vaccine development. Developments in high-throughput technologies make proteomic analysis of isolated viral particles a highly insightful approach to understanding the life cycle of pathogens such as Nipah virus.

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Citation: Johnston GP, Bradel-Tretheway B, Piehowski PD, Brewer HM, Lee BNR, Usher NT, Zamora JLR, Ortega V, Contreras EM, Teuton JR, Wendler JP, Matz KM, Adkins JN, Aguilar HC.
2019.   Nipah virus-like particle egress is modulated by cytoskeletal and vesicular trafficking pathways: a validated particle proteomics analysis. mSystems 4:e00194-19.   https://doi.org/10.1128/mSystems.00194-19