The retromer is co-opted to deliver lipid enzymes for the biogenesis of lipid-enriched tombusviral replication organelles

Zhike Feng, Junichi I. Inaba, Peter D. Nagy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Biogenesis of viral replication organelles (VROs) is critical for replication of positive-strand RNA viruses. In this work, we demonstrate that tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) and the closely related carnation Italian ringspot virus (CIRV) hijack the retromer to facilitate building VROs in the surrogate host yeast and in plants. Depletion of retromer proteins, which are needed for biogenesis of endosomal tubular transport carriers, strongly inhibits the peroxisome-associated TBSV and the mitochondria-associated CIRV replication in yeast and in planta. In vitro reconstitution revealed the need for the retromer for the full activity of the viral replicase. The viral p33 replication protein interacts with the retromer complex, including Vps26, Vps29, and Vps35. We demonstrate that TBSV p33-driven retargeting of the retromer into VROs results in delivery of critical retromer cargoes, such as 1) Psd2 phosphatidylserine decarboxylase, 2) Vps34 phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), and 3) phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase (PI4Kα-like). The recruitment of these cellular enzymes by the co-opted retromer is critical for de novo production and enrichment of phosphatidylethanolamine phospholipid, phosphatidylinositol-3phosphate [PI(3)P], and phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate [PI(4)P] phosphoinositides within the VROs. Co-opting cellular enzymes required for lipid biosynthesis and lipid modifications suggest that tombusviruses could create an optimized lipid/membrane microenvironment for efficient VRO assembly and protection of the viral RNAs during virus replication. We propose that compartmentalization of these lipid enzymes within VROs helps tombusviruses replicate in an efficient milieu. In summary, tombusviruses target a major crossroad in the secretory and recycling pathways via coopting the retromer complex and the tubular endosomal network to build VROs in infected cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2016066118
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 5 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.


  • Lipid biosynthesis
  • Retromer complex
  • Viral replication organelle
  • Virus replication
  • Virus–host interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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