Two PDZ binding motifs within NS5 have roles in Tick-borne encephalitis virus replication

Virus Res. 2012 Oct;169(1):54-62. doi: 10.1016/j.virusres.2012.07.001. Epub 2012 Jul 10.


The flavivirus genus includes important human neurotropic pathogens like Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) and West-Nile virus (WNV). Flavivirus replication occurs at replication complexes, where the NS5 protein provides both RNA cap methyltransferase and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase activities. TBEVNS5 contains two PDZ binding motifs (PBMs) important for specific targeting of human PDZ proteins including Scribble, an association important for viral down regulation of cellular defense systems and neurite outgrowth. To determine whether the PBMs of TBEVNS5 affects virus replication we constructed a DNA based sub-genomic TBEV replicon expressing firefly luciferase. The PBMs within NS5 were mutated individually and in concert and the replicons were assayed in cell culture. Our results show that the replication rate was impaired in all mutants, which indicates that PDZ dependent host interactions influence TBEV replication. We also find that the C-terminal PBMs present in TBEVNS5 and WNVNS5 are targeting various human PDZ domain proteins. TBEVNS5 has affinity to Zonula occludens-2 (ZO-2), GIAP C-terminus interacting protein (GIPC), calcium/calmodulin-dependent serine protein kinase (CASK), glutamate receptor interacting protein 2, (GRIP2) and Interleukin 16 (IL-16). A different pattern was observed for WNVNS5 as it associate with a broader repertoire of putative host PDZ proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs*
  • Animals
  • COS Cells
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Encephalitis Viruses, Tick-Borne / pathogenicity
  • Encephalitis Viruses, Tick-Borne / physiology*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Luciferases, Firefly / analysis
  • Luciferases, Firefly / genetics
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins / metabolism*
  • Virus Replication*
  • West Nile virus / pathogenicity
  • West Nile virus / physiology


  • NS5 protein, flavivirus
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins
  • Luciferases, Firefly