A group of vaccinia virus (VACV) proteins, including A11, L2, and A6, are required for biogenesis of the primary envelope of VACV, specifically, for the acquisition of viral membrane precursors. However, the interconnection among these proteins is unknown and, with the exception of L2, the connection of these proteins with membranes is also unknown. In this study, prompted by the findings that A6 coprecipitated A11 and that the cellular distribution of A11 was dramatically altered by repression of A6 expression, we studied the localization of A11 in cells by using immunofluorescence and cell fractionation analysis. A11 was found to associate with membranes and colocalize with virion membrane proteins in viral replication factories during normal VACV replication. A11 partitioned almost equally between the detergent and aqueous phases upon Triton X-114 phase separation, demonstrating an intrinsic affinity with lipids. However, in the absence of infection or VACV late protein synthesis, A11 did not associate with cellular membranes. Furthermore, when A6 expression was repressed, A11 did not colocalize with any viral membrane proteins or associate with membranes. In contrast, when virion envelope formation was blocked at a later step by repression of A14 expression or by rifampin treatment, A11 colocalized with virion membrane proteins in the factories. Altogether, our data showed that A11 associates with viral membranes during VACV replication, and this association requires A6 expression. This study provides a physical connection between A11 and viral membranes and suggests that A6 regulates A11 membrane association.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science