Cellular chaperonin CCTγ contributes to rabies virus replication during infection

J Virol. 2013 Jul;87(13):7608-21. doi: 10.1128/JVI.03186-12. Epub 2013 May 1.


Rabies, as the oldest known infectious disease, remains a serious threat to public health worldwide. The eukaryotic cytosolic chaperonin TRiC/CCT complex facilitates the folding of proteins through ATP hydrolysis. Here, we investigated the expression, cellular localization, and function of neuronal CCTγ during neurotropic rabies virus (RABV) infection using mouse N2a cells as a model. Following RABV infection, 24 altered proteins were identified by using two-dimensional electrophoresis and mass spectrometry, including 20 upregulated proteins and 4 downregulated proteins. In mouse N2a cells infected with RABV or cotransfected with RABV genes encoding nucleoprotein (N) and phosphoprotein (P), confocal microscopy demonstrated that upregulated cellular CCTγ was colocalized with viral proteins N and P, which formed a hollow cricoid inclusion within the region around the nucleus. These inclusions, which correspond to Negri bodies (NBs), did not form in mouse N2a cells only expressing the viral protein N or P. Knockdown of CCTγ by lentivirus-mediated RNA interference led to significant inhibition of RABV replication. These results demonstrate that the complex consisting of viral proteins N and P recruits CCTγ to NBs and identify the chaperonin CCTγ as a host factor that facilitates intracellular RABV replication. This work illustrates how viruses can utilize cellular chaperonins and compartmentalization for their own benefit.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Chaperonin Containing TCP-1 / metabolism*
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Inclusion Bodies, Viral / metabolism*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neurons / virology
  • Nucleocapsid Proteins / metabolism
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism
  • RNA Interference
  • Rabies / metabolism*
  • Rabies virus / physiology*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Viral Structural Proteins / metabolism
  • Virus Replication / drug effects*
  • Virus Replication / physiology


  • DNA Primers
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Nucleocapsid Proteins
  • P phosphoprotein, Rabies virus
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Viral Structural Proteins
  • Chaperonin Containing TCP-1