While biomolecular condensates have emerged as an important biological phenomenon, mechanisms regulating their composition and the ways that viruses hijack these mechanisms remain unclear. The mosquito-borne alphaviruses cause a range of diseases from rashes and arthritis to encephalitis, and no licensed drugs are available for treatment or vaccines for prevention. The alphavirus virulence factor nonstructural protein 3 (nsP3) suppresses the formation of stress granules (SGs)-a class of cytoplasmic condensates enriched with translation initiation factors and formed during the early stage of infection. nsP3 has a conserved N-terminal macrodomain that hydrolyzes ADP-ribose from ADP-ribosylated proteins and a C-terminal hypervariable domain that binds the essential SG component G3BP1. Here, we show that macrodomain hydrolase activity reduces the ADP-ribosylation of G3BP1, disassembles virus-induced SGs, and suppresses SG formation. Expression of nsP3 results in the formation of a distinct class of condensates that lack translation initiation factors but contain G3BP1 and other SG-associated RNA-binding proteins. Expression of ADP-ribosylhydrolase-deficient nsP3 results in condensates that retain translation initiation factors as well as RNA-binding proteins, similar to SGs. Therefore, our data reveal that ADP-ribosylation controls the composition of biomolecular condensates, specifically the localization of translation initiation factors, during alphavirus infection.
Keywords: ADP-ribosylation; alphavirus; biomolecular condensates; macrodomain; stress granules.