NYMC Faculty Publications


Murine GFP-Mx1 Forms Nuclear Condensates and Associates with Cytoplasmic Intermediate Filaments: Novel Antiviral Activity against VSV

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Cell Biology and Anatomy


Type I and III interferons induce expression of the "myxovirus resistance proteins" MxA in human cells and its ortholog Mx1 in murine cells. Human MxA forms cytoplasmic structures, whereas murine Mx1 forms nuclear bodies. Whereas both HuMxA and MuMx1 are antiviral toward influenza A virus (FLUAV) (an orthomyxovirus), only HuMxA is considered antiviral toward vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) (a rhabdovirus). We previously reported that the cytoplasmic human GFP-MxA structures were phase-separated membraneless organelles ("biomolecular condensates"). In the present study, we investigated whether nuclear murine Mx1 structures might also represent phase-separated biomolecular condensates. The transient expression of murine GFP-Mx1 in human Huh7 hepatoma, human Mich-2H6 melanoma, and murine NIH 3T3 cells led to the appearance of Mx1 nuclear bodies. These GFP-MuMx1 nuclear bodies were rapidly disassembled by exposing cells to 1,6-hexanediol (5%, w/v), or to hypotonic buffer (40-50 mosm), consistent with properties of membraneless phase-separated condensates. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) assays revealed that the GFP-MuMx1 nuclear bodies upon photobleaching showed a slow partial recovery (mobile fraction: ∼18%) suggestive of a gel-like consistency. Surprisingly, expression of GFP-MuMx1 in Huh7 cells also led to the appearance of GFP-MuMx1 in 20-30% of transfected cells in a novel cytoplasmic giantin-based intermediate filament meshwork and in cytoplasmic bodies. Remarkably, Huh7 cells with cytoplasmic murine GFP-MuMx1 filaments, but not those with only nuclear bodies, showed antiviral activity toward VSV. Thus, GFP-MuMx1 nuclear bodies comprised phase-separated condensates. Unexpectedly, GFP-MuMx1 in Huh7 cells also associated with cytoplasmic giantin-based intermediate filaments, and such cells showed antiviral activity toward VSV.

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