Cryotomography of budding influenza A virus reveals filaments with diverse morphologies that mostly do not bear a genome at their distal end

Swetha Vijayakrishnan*, Colin Loney, David Jackson, Worawit Suphamungmee, Frazer J. Rixon, David Bhella

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Influenza viruses exhibit striking variations in particle morphology between strains. Clinical isolates of influenza A virus have been shown to produce long filamentous particles while laboratory-adapted strains are predominantly spherical. However, the role of the filamentous phenotype in the influenza virus infectious cycle remains undetermined. We used cryo-electron tomography to conduct the first three-dimensional study of filamentous virus ultrastructure in particles budding from infected cells. Filaments were often longer than 10 microns and sometimes had bulbous heads at their leading ends, some of which contained tubules we attribute to M1 while none had recognisable ribonucleoprotein (RNP) and hence genome segments. Long filaments that did not have bulbs were infrequently seen to bear an ordered complement of RNPs at their distal ends. Imaging of purified virus also revealed diverse filament morphologies; short rods (bacilliform virions) and longer filaments. Bacilliform virions contained an ordered complement of RNPs while longer filamentous particles were narrower and mostly appeared to lack this feature, but often contained fibrillar material along their entire length. The important ultrastructural differences between these diverse classes of particles raise the possibility of distinct morphogenetic pathways and functions during the infectious process.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1003413
Number of pages11
JournalPLoS Pathogens
Volume9
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

Keywords

  • Cryoelectron Tomography
  • Matrix protein
  • Ribonucleoprotein complexes
  • Electron-microscopy
  • Parelectron-microscopyticle formation
  • RNA segments
  • M1
  • Virions
  • Determinants

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