Cytoplasmic inclusion bodies, known as viroplasms or viral factories, are assumed to be the sites of replication of members of the family Reoviridae. Immunocytochemical and biochemical analyses were carried out to characterize the poorly understood viroplasms of the phytoreovirus Rice dwarf virus (RDV). Within 6 h of inoculation of cells, viroplasms, namely discrete cytoplasmic inclusions, were formed that contained the non-structural proteins Pns6, Pns11 and Pns12 of RDV, which appeared to be the constituents of the inclusions. Formation of similar inclusions in non-host insect cells upon expression of Pns12 in a baculovirus system and the association of molecules of Pns12 in vitro suggested that the inclusions observed in RDV-infected cells were composed basically of Pns12. Core proteins P1, P3, P5 and P7 and core virus particles were identified in the interior region of the inclusions. In contrast accumulation of the outer capsid proteins P2, P8 and P9 and of intact virus particles was evident in the peripheral regions of the inclusions. These observations suggest that core particles were constructed inside the inclusions, whereas outer capsid proteins were assembled at the periphery of the inclusions. Viral inclusions were shown to be the sites of viral RNA synthesis by labelling infected cells with 5-bromouridine 5′-tri phosphate. The number of viroplasms decreased with time post-inoculation as their sizes increased, suggesting that inclusions might fuse with one another during the virus-propagation process. Our results are consistent with a model, proposed for vertebrate reoviruses, in which viroplasms play a pivotal role in virus assembly.
ASJC Scopus subject areas