Research ArticlePLANT SCIENCES

A distinct class of plant and animal viral proteins that disrupt mitosis by directly interrupting the mitotic entry switch Wee1-Cdc25-Cdk1

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Science Advances  13 May 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 20, eaba3418
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba3418

Abstract

Many animal viral proteins, e.g., Vpr of HIV-1, disrupt host mitosis by directly interrupting the mitotic entry switch Wee1-Cdc25-Cdk1. However, it is unknown whether plant viruses may use this mechanism in their pathogenesis. Here, we report that the 17K protein, encoded by barley yellow dwarf viruses and related poleroviruses, delays G2/M transition and disrupts mitosis in both host (barley) and nonhost (fission yeast, Arabidopsis thaliana, and tobacco) cells through interrupting the function of Wee1-Cdc25-CDKA/Cdc2 via direct protein-protein interactions and alteration of CDKA/Cdc2 phosphorylation. When ectopically expressed, 17K disrupts the mitosis of cultured human cells, and HIV-1 Vpr inhibits plant cell growth. Furthermore, 17K and Vpr share similar secondary structural feature and common amino acid residues required for interacting with plant CDKA. Thus, our work reveals a distinct class of mitosis regulators that are conserved between plant and animal viruses and play active roles in viral pathogenesis.

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