The human rhinovirus (HRV) 3C and 2A proteases (3Cpro and 2Apro, respectively) are critical in HRV infection, as they are required for viral polyprotein processing as well as proteolysing key host factors to facilitate virus replication. Early in infection, 3Cpro is present as its precursor 3CD, which, although the mechanism of subcellular targeting is unknown, is found in the nucleus as well as the cytoplasm. In this study, we use transfected and infected cell systems to show that 2Apro activity is required for 3CD nuclear localization. Using green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged forms of 3Cpro, 3D, and mutant derivatives thereof, we show that 3Cpro is located in the cytoplasm and the nucleus, whereas 3CD and 3D are localized predominantly in the cytoplasm, implying that 3D lacks nuclear targeting ability and that 3Cpro activity within 3CD is not sufficient to allow the larger protein into the nucleus. Importantly, by coexpressing mCherry-2Apro fusion proteins, we demonstrate formally that 2Apro activity is required to allow HRV 3CD access to the nucleus. In contrast, mCherry-3Cpro is insufficient to allow 3CD access to the nucleus. Finally, we confirm the relevance of these results to HRV infection by demonstrating that nuclear localization of 3CD correlates with 2Apro activity and not 3Cpro activity, which is observed only later in infection. The results thus define the temporal activities of 2Apro and 3CD/3Cpro activities in HRV serotype16 infection.
WALKER, E., CROFT, S., Wei, K., Jans, D., Fulcher, A. J., & GHILDYAL, R. (2016). Rhinovirus 16 2A protease affects nuclear localization of 3CD during infection. Journal of Virology, 90(24), 11032-11042. https://doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00974-16