Densovirus genome replication and capsid assembly take place in the nucleus of the infected cells. However, the mechanisms underlying such processes as the delivery of virus proteins to the nucleus and the export of progeny virus from the nucleus remain elusive. It is evident that nuclear transport signals should be involved in these processes. We performed an in silico search for the putative nuclear localization signal (NLS) and nuclear export signal (NES) motifs in the capsid proteins of the Blattella germanica Densovirus 1 (BgDV1) densovirus. A high probability NLS motif was found in the common C-terminal of capsid proteins together with a NES motif in the unique N-terminal of VP2. We also performed a global search for the nuclear traffic signals in the densoviruses belonging to five Densovirinae genera, which revealed high diversity in the patterns of NLSs and NESs. Using a heterologous system, the HeLa mammalian cell line expressing GFP-fused BgDV1 capsid proteins, we demonstrated that both signals are functionally active. We suggest that the NLS shared by all three BgDV1 capsid proteins drives the trafficking of the newly-synthesized proteins into the nucleus, while the NES may play a role in the export of the newly-assembled BgDV1 particles into the cytoplasm through nuclear pore complexes.
Keywords: BgDV1; Blattella germanica densovirus; Densovirinae; NES; NLS; Parvoviridae; capsid proteins; nuclear export; nuclear localization.