Author(s): Chevalier C, Al Bazzal A, Vidic J, Fvrier V, Bourdieu C,
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Abstract The influenza A virus PB1-F2 protein, encoded by an alternative reading frame in the PB1 polymerase gene, displays a high sequence polymorphism and is reported to contribute to viral pathogenesis in a sequence-specific manner. To gain insights into the functions of PB1-F2, the molecular structure of several PB1-F2 variants produced in Escherichia coli was investigated in different environments. Circular dichroism spectroscopy shows that all variants have a random coil secondary structure in aqueous solution. When incubated in trifluoroethanol polar solvent, all PB1-F2 variants adopt an alpha-helix-rich structure, whereas incubated in acetonitrile, a solvent of medium polarity mimicking the membrane environment, they display beta-sheet secondary structures. Incubated with asolectin liposomes and SDS micelles, PB1-F2 variants also acquire a beta-sheet structure. Dynamic light scattering revealed that the presence of beta-sheets is correlated with an oligomerization/aggregation of PB1-F2. Electron microscopy showed that PB1-F2 forms amorphous aggregates in acetonitrile. In contrast, at low concentrations of SDS, PB1-F2 variants exhibited various abilities to form fibers that were evidenced as amyloid fibers in a thioflavin T assay. Using a recombinant virus and its PB1-F2 knock-out mutant, we show that PB1-F2 also forms amyloid structures in infected cells. Functional membrane permeabilization assays revealed that the PB1-F2 variants can perforate membranes at nanomolar concentrations but with activities found to be sequence-dependent and not obviously correlated with their differential ability to form amyloid fibers. All of these observations suggest that PB1-F2 could be involved in physiological processes through different pathways, permeabilization of cellular membranes, and amyloid fiber formation.
This article was published in J Biol Chem
and referenced in Journal of Analytical & Bioanalytical Techniques