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Title: A study of viral and cellular factors in the regulation of the influenza virus RNA-dependent RNA polymerase
Author: York, Ashley D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 0854
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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The segmented negative-sense vRNA genome of influenza A virus is replicated via a complementary RNA (cRNA) intermediate by the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP). The replicative intermediate has been thought to exist as a complementary ribonucleoprotein (cRNP) complex. Development of an RNA-based affinity-purification strategy for the isolation of viral ribonucleoprotein complexes enabled the structural and functional characterisation of the previously uncharacterised cRNP complex. The cRNP exhibits a filamentous double-helical organisation with defined termini, containing the viral RdRP at one end and a loop structure at the other end. In vitro characterisation of cRNP activity led to a proposal of a model of vRNA synthesis that relies on a trans-activating RdRP. The viral RdRP is an important host range determinant indicating that its function is affected by interactions with cellular factors. However, the identities and the roles of most of these factors remain unknown. Affinity-purification followed by mass spectrometry was performed to identify cellular proteins that interact with the viral RdRP. 171 cellular proteins were found to co-purify with the viral RdRP, the most abundant of which were chaperones, cytoskeletal proteins, importins, proteins involved in ubiquitination, kinases and phosphatases, mitochondrial and ribosomal proteins. Among the phosphatases, three subunits of the cellular serine/threonine-protein phosphatase 6 (PP6) were identified. PP6 was found to interact directly with the PB1 and PB2 subunits of the viral RdRP, and siRNA-mediated knockdown of the catalytic subunit of PP6 in infected cells resulted in the reduction of viral RNA accumulation and the attenuation of virus growth. Taken together, these results suggest that PP6 interacts with and positively regulates the activity of the influenza virus RdRP.
Supervisor: Fodor, Ervin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Biochemistry ; Biology ; Microbiology ; Viruses ; influenza ; RNA polymerase ; RNA synthesis