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Viruses 2017, 9(11), 326; https://doi.org/10.3390/v9110326

Helicase Domain of West Nile Virus NS3 Protein Plays a Role in Inhibition of Type I Interferon Signalling

Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
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Received: 13 October 2017 / Revised: 27 October 2017 / Accepted: 31 October 2017 / Published: 2 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Viruses)
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Abstract

West Nile virus (WNV) is a neurotropic flavivirus that can cause encephalitis in mammalian and avian hosts. In America, the virulent WNV strain (NY99) is causing yearly outbreaks of encephalitis in humans and horses, while in Australia the less virulent Kunjin strain of WNV strain has not been associated with significant disease outbreaks until a recent 2011 large outbreak in horses (but not in humans) caused by NSW2011 strain. Using chimeric viruses between NY99 and NSW2011 strains we previously identified a role for the non-structural proteins of NY99 strain and especially the NS3 protein, in enhanced virus replication in type I interferon response-competent cells and increased virulence in mice. To further define the role of NY99 NS3 protein in inhibition of type I interferon response, we have generated and characterised additional chimeric viruses containing the protease or the helicase domains of NY99 NS3 on the background of the NSW2011 strain. The results identified the role for the helicase but not the protease domain of NS3 protein in the inhibition of type I interferon signalling and showed that helicase domain of the more virulent NY99 strain performs this function more efficiently than helicase domain of the less virulent NSW2011 strain. Further analysis with individual amino acid mutants identified two amino acid residues in the helicase domain primarily responsible for this difference. Using chimeric replicons, we also showed that the inhibition of type I interferon (IFN) signalling was independent of other known functions of NS3 in RNA replication and assembly of virus particles. View Full-Text
Keywords: flavivirus; West Nile virus; NS3; helicase; interferon flavivirus; West Nile virus; NS3; helicase; interferon
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Setoh, Y.X.; Periasamy, P.; Peng, N.Y.G.; Amarilla, A.A.; Slonchak, A.; Khromykh, A.A. Helicase Domain of West Nile Virus NS3 Protein Plays a Role in Inhibition of Type I Interferon Signalling. Viruses 2017, 9, 326.

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