Analysis of cellular proteome changes in response to ZIKV NS2B-NS3 protease expression

Biochim Biophys Acta Proteins Proteom. 2019 Feb;1867(2):89-97. doi: 10.1016/j.bbapap.2018.10.016. Epub 2018 Oct 31.


The recent emergence of Zika virus (ZIKV) has caused global concern as a result of the association with neurological disorders, and brain development dysfunction in fetuses of mothers who become infected with ZIKV during pregnancy. The NS2B-NS3 protease is important for viral replication and offers an attractive drug target. In addition to processing the viral polypeptide, evidence has shown that the NS2B-NS3 protease also targets cellular proteins as part of the viral replication process. This study sought to determine new host cell protein targets of ZIKV NS2B-NS3 (zNS2B-NS3). Plasmids encoding the protease domains of zNS2B-NS3pro and an inactive zNS2B-NS3(S135A) were transfected into HEK293T/17 cells and differentially expressed proteins were detected by 2D gel electrophoresis. A total of 18 protein spots were observed as differentially expressed between zNS2B-NS3pro and zNS2B-NS3(S135A), of which 7 were selected for identification by mass spectrometry. Four proteins (protein disulfide-isomerase A3 (PDIA3), heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A2/B1 (hnRNP A2/B1), voltage-dependent anion-selective channel (VDAC) and aldolase A (ALDOA)) were selected for validation by independent transient expression and western blot analysis. Three proteins (PDIA3, hnRNP A2/B1 and ALDOA) were successfully validated, but only two proteins (PDIA3 and ALDOA) were shown to be regulated in ZIKV infection in agreement with the results of the transfection experiments. This study has identified two proteins, PDIA3 an ALDOA whose expression is modulated by the ZIKV NS2B-NS3 protease, and these proteins are involved in the ER stress response and glycolysis respectively, two critical cellular processes in ZIKV infection.

Keywords: Glycolysis; NS2B; NS3; Protease; Stress response; Zika virus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Proteome / metabolism
  • RNA Helicases / metabolism
  • RNA Helicases / physiology
  • Serine Endopeptidases / chemistry
  • Serine Endopeptidases / metabolism
  • Serine Endopeptidases / physiology
  • Stress, Physiological / physiology
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins / metabolism
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins / physiology
  • Zika Virus / genetics*
  • Zika Virus / metabolism
  • Zika Virus Infection / metabolism*
  • Zika Virus Infection / physiopathology


  • NS2B protein, flavivirus
  • NS3 protein, flavivirus
  • Proteome
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • RNA Helicases