American Chemical Society
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Mapping Interactions among Cell-Free Expressed Zika Virus Proteins

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-03-09, 18:34 authored by Shayli Varasteh Moradi, Dejan Gagoski, Sergey Mureev, Patricia Walden, Kerrie-Ann McMahon, Robert G. Parton, Wayne A. Johnston, Kirill Alexandrov
The rapid spread of arthropod-borne Zika virus poses a serious public health threat that calls for effective ways of controlling and treating viral infection. This in turn necessitates better understanding of the mechanisms of virus assembly and its interaction with the host cells. In order to facilitate such efforts, we developed a new multihost expression vector pmCellFree that allows rapid and multiplexed production of ZIKV proteins in any in vitro translation system as well as in mammalian cells. Using a combination of in vitro expression in Leishmania cell-free system and AlphaLISA interaction assay, pairwise protein interactions of all ZIKV proteins were systematically tested. We identified thirty-three intraviral binary protein interactions, of which 13 interactions are novel. These findings were further validated by expressing selected protein pairs in mammalian HEK293T cell line and assessing their interactions in the cellular lysate. The results of these interaction assays were identical to those obtained with in vitro expressed proteins. The observed novel protein–protein interactions were further validated using a pulldown assay. The unrevealed novel protein interactions may point to the previously unappreciated complexity of the ZIKV assembly process and may play an important role in the infection process. These interactions may represent new targets for antiviral drug development.