Rotavirus NSP4 localizes to multiple intracellular sites and is multifunctional, contributing to RV morphogenesis, replication and pathogenesis. One function of NSP4 is the induction of early secretory diarrhea by binding surface receptors to initiate signaling events. The aims of this study were to determine the transport kinetics of NSP4 to the exofacial plasma membrane (PM), the subsequent release from intact infected cells, and rebinding to naïve and/or neighboring cells in two cell types.
Transport kinetics was evaluated using surface-specific biotinylation/streptavidin pull-downs and exofacial exposure of NSP4 was confirmed by antibody binding to intact cells, and fluorescent resonant energy transfer. Transfected cells similarly were monitored to discern NSP4 movement in the absence of infection or other viral proteins. Endoglycosidase H digestions, preparation of CY3- or CY5- labeled F(ab)2 fragments, confocal imaging, and determination of preferential polarized transport employed standard laboratory techniques. Mock-infected, mock-biotinylated and non-specific antibodies served as controls.
Only full-length (FL), endoglycosidase-sensitive NSP4 was detected on the exofacial surface of two cell types, whereas the corresponding cell lysates showed multiple glycosylated forms. The C-terminus of FL NSP4 was detected on exofacial-membrane surfaces at different times in different cell types prior to its release into culture media. Transport to the PM was rapid and distinct yet FL NSP4 was secreted from both cell types at a time similar to the release of virus. NSP4-containing, clarified media from both cells bound surface molecules of naïve cells, and imaging showed secreted NSP4 from one or more infected cells bound neighboring cell membranes in culture. Preferential sorting to apical or basolateral membranes also was distinct in different polarized cells.
The intracellular transport of NSP4 to the PM, translocation across the PM, exposure of the C-terminus on the cell surface and subsequent secretion occurs via an unusual, complex and likely cell-dependent process. The exofacial exposure of the C-terminus poses several questions and suggests an atypical mechanism by which NSP4 traverses the PM and interacts with membrane lipids. Mechanistic details of the unconventional trafficking of NSP4, interactions with host-cell specific molecules and subsequent release require additional study.
Gibbons, Thomas F.; Storey, Stephen M.; Williams, Cecelia V.; McIntosh, Avery; Mitchel, DeAnne M.; Parr, Rebecca D.; Schroeder, Friedhelm; and Ball, Judith M., "Rotavirus NSP4: Cell Type-dependent Transport Kinetics to the Exofacial Plasma Membrane and Release from Intact Infected Cells" (2011). Faculty Publications. 41.