Alphaherpesviruses such as herpes simplex virus and pseudorabies virus (PRV) are neuroinvasive double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses that establish lifelong latency in peripheral nervous system (PNS) neurons of their native hosts. Following reactivation, infection can spread back to the initial mucosal site of infection or, in rare cases, to the central nervous system, with usually serious outcomes. During entry and egress, viral capsids depend on microtubule-based molecular motors for efficient and fast transport. In axons of PNS neurons, cytoplasmic dynein provides force for retrograde movements toward the soma, and kinesins move cargo in the opposite, anterograde direction. The dynamic properties of virus particles in cells can be imaged by fluorescent protein fusions to the small capsid protein VP26, which are incorporated into capsids. However, single-color fluorescent protein tags fail to distinguish the virus inoculum from progeny. Therefore, we established a dual-color system by growing a recombinant PRV expressing a red fluorescent VP26 fusion (PRV180) on a stable cell line expressing a green VP26 fusion (PK15- mNG-VP26). The resulting dual-color virus preparation (PRV180G) contains capsids tagged with both red and green fluorescent proteins, and 97% of particles contain detectable levels of mNeonGreen (mNG)-tagged VP26. After replication in neuronal cells, all PRV180G progeny exclusively contain monomeric red fluorescent protein (mRFP)-VP26-tagged capsids. We used PRV180G for an analysis of axonal capsid transport dynamics in PNS neurons. Fast dual-color total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy, single-particle tracking, and motility analyses reveal robust, bidirectional capsid motility mediated by cytoplasmic dynein and kinesin during entry, whereas egressing progeny particles are transported exclusively by kinesins.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science