Herpes virus egress through the nuclear envelope and host response against infections
Saiz Ros, Natalia
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The nuclear envelope is a highly organised double membrane system that separates the activities of the nuclear and cytoplasmic compartments in eukaryotic systems. The wide range of functions recently associated with the NE and the identification of hundreds of proteins associated with this cellular structure indicates that it is a major signalling node for the cell. Recent work indicates NE functions in signalling innate immune responses to herpesviruses. The viruses, on the other hand, often target or usurp NE functions in different ways. The NE is also a physical barrier that must be overcome for viruses like the herpesviridae that assemble capsids in the nucleus. This thesis addresses two important questions: 1) How do herpesviruses cross the NE after new viral particles are produced in the nucleus? and 2) What is the nuclear envelope role of NET23/STING in the activation of immune factors upon herpesvirus infection? To address the first question, I followed two different approaches. The first used the isolation of microsomes from HSV-1 infected cells to identify possible host factors involved during herpesvirus exit through the NE on the prediction that such proteins would disperse into the ER during infection. I identified a group of vesicle fusion proteins that play a role in this herpesvirus exit through the NE. Depletion of three identified vesicle fusion proteins decreased the growth of HSV-1 in host cells, yielding accumulation of viral particles in the nucleus. The second approach was to follow the fate of nuclear envelope transmembrane proteins (NETs) during HSV-1 infection. To address the question of how NET23/STING is involved in innate immunity I tested the hypothesis that this NET acts as a transport receptor to carry signals through the peripheral channels of the NPC when central channel transport is blocked by pathogens. FRAP was used to quantify the mobility of NET23/STING upon the induction of the innate immune response, finding an increase of the mobility for this protein in the NE. To further elucidate its role within the NE I tested whether some NE-NET23/STING binding partners were being redistributed between the nucleus and cytoplasm during innate immune responses. This revealed two of these binding partners normally redistribute upon innate immune response activation and this is blocked in cells knocked down for NET23/STING. Finally, I confirmed that NET23/STING contributes to chromatin remodelling during infection involving an increase in the H3K9Me3 epigenetic mark. Collectively, these data argue the identification of novel host proteins involved in herpesvirus nuclear egress and the finding of a new role for NET23/STING within the NE.