Home / Research Highlights

Structures of honeybee-infecting Lake Sinai virus reveal domain functions and capsid assembly with dynamic motions, Nature Communications14, 8519 (2023)
Nai-Chi Chen, Chun-Hsiung Wang, Masato Yoshimura, Yi-Qi Yeh, Hong-Hsiang Guan, Phimonphan Chuankhayan, Chien-Chih Lin, Pei-Ju Lin, Yen-Chieh Huang, Soichi Wakatsuki, Meng-Chiao Ho & Chun-Jung Chen
Understanding the structural diversity of honeybee-infecting viruses is critical to maintain pollinator health and manage the spread of diseases in ecology and agriculture. We determine cryo-EM structures of T = 4 and T = 3 capsids of virus-like particles (VLPs) of Lake Sinai virus (LSV) 2 and delta-N48 LSV1, belonging to tetraviruses, at resolutions of 2.3–2.6 Å in various pH environments. Structural analysis shows that the LSV2 capsid protein (CP) structural features, particularly the protruding domain and C-arm, differ from those of other tetraviruses. The anchor loop on the central β-barrel domain interacts with the neighboring subunit to stabilize homo-trimeric capsomeres during assembly. Delta-N48 LSV1 CP interacts with ssRNA via the rigid helix α1’, α1’–α1 loop, β-barrel domain, and C-arm. Cryo-EM reconstructions, combined with X-ray crystallographic and small-angle scattering analyses, indicate that pH affects capsid conformations by regulating reversible dynamic particle motions and sizes of LSV2 VLPs. C-arms exist in all LSV2 and delta-N48 LSV1 VLPs across varied pH conditions, indicating that autoproteolysis cleavage is not required for LSV maturation. The observed linear domino-scaffold structures of various lengths, made up of trapezoid-shape capsomeres, provide a basis for icosahedral T = 4 and T = 3 architecture assemblies. These findings advance understanding of honeybee-infecting viruses that can cause Colony Collapse Disorder.