Structural insights into phosphoinositide 3-kinase activation by the influenza A virus NS1 protein

Benjamin G. Hale, Philip S. Kerry, David Jackson, Bernard L. Precious, Alexander Gray, Marian J. Killip, Richard E. Randall, Rupert J. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Citations (Scopus)


Seasonal epidemics and periodic worldwide pandemics caused by influenza A viruses are of continuous concern. The viral nonstructural (NS1) protein is a multifunctional virulence factor that antagonizes several host innate immune defenses during infection. NS1 also directly stimulates class IA phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling, an essential cell survival pathway commonly mutated in human cancers. Here, we present a 2.3-angstrom resolution crystal structure of the NS1 effector domain in complex with the inter-SH2 (coiled-coil) domain of p85 beta, a regulatory subunit of PI3K. Our data emphasize the remarkable isoform specificity of this interaction, and provide insights into the mechanism by which NS1 activates the PI3K (p85 beta:p110) holoenzyme. A model of the NS1:PI3K heterotrimeric complex reveals that NS1 uses the coiled-coil as a structural tether to sterically prevent normal inhibitory contacts between the N-terminal SH2 domain of p85 beta and the p110 catalytic subunit. Furthermore, in this model, NS1 makes extensive contacts with the C2/kinase domains of p110, and a small acidic alpha-helix of NS1 sits adjacent to the highly basic activation loop of the enzyme. During infection, a recombinant influenza A virus expressing NS1 with charge-disruption mutations in this acidic alpha-helix is unable to stimulate the production of phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate or the phosphorylation of Akt. Despite this, the charge-disruption mutations in NS1 do not affect its ability to interact with the p85 beta inter-SH2 domain in vitro. Overall, these data suggest that both direct binding of NS1 to p85 beta (resulting in repositioning of the N-terminal SH2 domain) and possible NS1:p110 contacts contribute to PI3K activation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1954-1959
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2010


  • activation loop
  • coiled-coil
  • crystallography
  • PI3-kinase
  • P85-BETA


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