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N130, N175 and N207 are N-linked glycosylation sites of duck Tembusu virus NS1 that are important for viral multiplication, viremia and virulence in ducklings
Veterinary Microbiology  (IF3.293),  Pub Date : 2021-08-25, DOI: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2021.109215
Senzhao Zhang, Xiaoli Wang, Yu He, Tao Hu, Jiaqi Guo, Mingshu Wang, Renyong Jia, Dekang Zhu, Mafeng Liu, Xinxin Zhao, Qiao Yang, Ying Wu, Shaqiu Zhang, Juan Huang, Sai Mao, Xumin Ou, Qun Gao, Di Sun, Anchun Cheng

Duck Tembusu virus (DTMUV) is an emerging mosquito-borne flavivirus that has caused acute egg-drop syndrome in egg-laying ducks. DTMUV nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) contains three potential predicted N-linked glycosylation sites at residues 130, 175 and 207. In this study, we found that mutations at these sites affect the molecular weight of recombinant NS1, as assessed by western blot assays; however, the mutations do not affect their subcellular localization in the cytoplasm, as assessed by colocalization assays. Four recombinant viruses substituting the asparagine (N) residues at N130, N175, N207 or N130/N175/N207 of NS1 with alanine (A) residues were generated using rDTMUV-i, an infectious cDNA clone of the DTMUV CQW1 strain. Deglycosylation assays of the mutant virus NS1 were performed using endoglycosidases Endo H or PNGase F treatment in both mammalian and avian cells. The NS1-WT, NS1-N130A, NS1-N175A and NS1-N207A showed a shift in migration to 37 kDa after digestion with both endoglycosidases, which further confirmed that N130, N175 and N207 were the glycosylation sites of DTMUV NS1. Compared to the parental rDTMUV, the single mutants impaired viral multiplication in vitro, while the nonglycosylated virus rDTMUV-NS1-N130A/N175A/N207A showed a 5-fold to 178-fold decrease in viral titers and smaller plaque sizes. Notably, all mutant viruses were still highly virulent to duck embryos, but the embryos inoculated with rDTMUV-NS1-N130A/N175A/N207A started to die on the fourth day, which exhibited a prolonged time to death compared to that of rDTMUV. Moreover, rDTMUV-NS1-N130A/N175A/N207A was attenuated in vivo, showing no mortality and producing significantly lower viral titers in heart, spleen, kidney, brain and thymus as well as 2-fold to 3-fold lower viremia at 3 and 5 days post infection. Overall, our results indicated that N130, N175 and N207 are N-linked glycosylation sites of DTMUV NS1, which play crucial roles in viral multiplication, viremia and virulence in vitro and in vivo.