The centromeric histone CenH3 is recruited into the tombusvirus replication organelles

Paulina Alatriste Gonzalez, Peter D. Nagy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tombusviruses, similar to other (+)RNA viruses, exploit the host cells by co-opting numerous host components and rewiring cellular pathways to build extensive virus-induced replication organelles (VROs) in the cytosol of the infected cells. Most molecular resources are suboptimal in susceptible cells and therefore, tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) drives intensive remodeling and subversion of many cellular processes. The authors discovered that the nuclear centromeric CenH3 histone variant (Cse4p in yeast, CENP-A in humans) plays a major role in tombusvirus replication in plants and in the yeast model host. We find that over-expression of CenH3 greatly interferes with tombusvirus replication, whereas mutation or knockdown of CenH3 enhances TBSV replication in yeast and plants. CenH3 binds to the viral RNA and acts as an RNA chaperone. Although these data support a restriction role of CenH3 in tombusvirus replication, we demonstrate that by partially sequestering CenH3 into VROs, TBSV indirectly alters selective gene expression of the host, leading to more abundant protein pool. This in turn helps TBSV to subvert pro-viral host factors into replication. We show this through the example of hypoxia factors, glycolytic and fermentation enzymes, which are exploited more efficiently by tombusviruses to produce abundant ATP locally within the VROs in infected cells. Altogether, we propose that subversion of CenH3/Cse4p from the nucleus into cytosolic VROs facilitates transcriptional changes in the cells, which ultimately leads to more efficient ATP generation in situ within VROs by the co-opted glycolytic enzymes to support the energy requirement of virus replication. In summary, CenH3 plays both pro-viral and restriction functions during tombusvirus replication. This is a surprising novel role for a nuclear histone variant in cytosolic RNA virus replication.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1010653
JournalPLoS Pathogens
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Gonzalez, Nagy. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Virology


Dive into the research topics of 'The centromeric histone CenH3 is recruited into the tombusvirus replication organelles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this