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Competitive fitness in coronaviruses is not correlated with size or number of double-membrane vesicles under reduced-temperature growth conditions

Al-Mulla, H. M. N., Turrell, L., Smith, N. M., Payne, L., Baliji, S., Züst, R., Thiel, V., Baker, S. C., Siddell, S. G. and Neuman, B. W. (2014) Competitive fitness in coronaviruses is not correlated with size or number of double-membrane vesicles under reduced-temperature growth conditions. mBio, 5 (2). e01107-13. ISSN 2150-7511

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1128/mBio.01107-13

Abstract/Summary

Positive-stranded viruses synthesize their RNA in membrane-bound organelles, but it is not clear how this benefits the virus or the host. For coronaviruses, these organelles take the form of double-membrane vesicles (DMVs) interconnected by a convoluted membrane network. We used electron microscopy to identify murine coronaviruses with mutations in nsp3 and nsp14 that replicated normally while producing only half the normal amount of DMVs. Viruses with mutations in nsp5 and nsp16 produced small DMVs but also replicated normally. Quantitative RT-PCR confirmed that the most strongly affected of these, the nsp3 mutant, produced more viral RNA than wild-type virus. Competitive growth assays were carried out in both continuous and primary cells to better understand the contribution of DMVs to viral fitness. Surprisingly, several viruses that produced fewer or smaller DMVs showed a higher relative fitness compared to wild-type virus, suggesting that larger and more numerous DMVs do not necessarily confer a competitive advantage in primary or continuous cell culture. For the first time, this directly demonstrates that replication and organelle formation may be, at least in part, studied separately during positive-stranded RNA virus infection.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Biomedical Sciences
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Chemical Analysis Facility (CAF) > Electron Microscopy Laboratory (CAF)
ID Code:37085
Publisher:American Society for Microbiology

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