Vaccinia virus hijacks ESCRT-mediated multivesicular body formation for virus egress

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Poxvirus egress is a complex process whereby cytoplasmic single membrane-bound virions are wrapped in a cell-derived double membrane. These triple-membrane particles, termed intracellular enveloped virions (IEVs), are released from infected cells by fusion. Whereas the wrapping double membrane is thought to be derived from virus-modified trans-Golgi or early endosomal cisternae, the cellular factors that regulate virus wrapping remain largely undefined. To identify cell factors required for this process the prototypic poxvirus, vaccinia virus (VACV), was subjected to an RNAi screen directed against cellular membrane-trafficking proteins. Focusing on the endosomal sorting complexes required for transport (ESCRT), we demonstrate that ESCRT-III and VPS4 are required for packaging of virus into multivesicular bodies (MVBs). EM-based characterization of MVB-IEVs showed that they account for half of IEV production indicating that MVBs are a second major source of VACV wrapping membrane. These data support a model whereby, in addition to cisternae-based wrapping, VACV hijacks ESCRT-mediated MVB formation to facilitate virus egress and spread.

Journal details

Volume 4
Issue number 8
Pages e202000910
Available online
Publication date

Crick labs/facilities