Mammalian Scribble is a target for proteins encoded by human papilloma virus, retro- and flaviviruses. Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) is a flavivirus that have evolved distinct strategies to escape antiviral responses. Information of how flaviviruses intrude on cell integrity comes from understanding of the roles that host-factors play when they interfere with viruses. The first part of this thesis describes a novel interaction between the TBEVNS5 protein and Scribble. The importance of the interaction was demonstrated by RNAi-mediated depletion of Scribble, which prevented suppression of JAK-STAT signaling by NS5. Together, these results define Scribble as a novel target for NS5.
TBEV is known to cause central nervous system disease TBE in humans that can lead to cognitive dysfunction. A unifying theme in CNS related diseases are defects in neuronal extensions. We therefore addressed the effects of TBEV expression in PC12 cell differentiation, which is characterized by extensive neurite growth. Our data show that TBEVNS5 suppresses neurite outgrowth through the Rho GTPase Rac1. These findings provide evidence that Rac1 is an indirect target of NS5 in neurite inhibition. Scribble was recently implicated in spine morphogenesis. Thus, we tested the role of Scribble in neurite elongation. Depletion of Scribble in PC12 cells, reduced neurite density but increased length of those remaining. Moreover, Scribble bound components in the Ras/ERK cascade in a growth factor dependent manner. Together, these results demonstrate that Scribble controls neurite elongation by scaffolding MAPK components. Moreover, as loss of dendritic spines, actin-rich protrusions on neurons, is a feature in cognitive dysfunction we speculate that cognitive dysfunction in TBE might involve disturbed Scribble expression by NS5.
We also investigated the binding between NS1 of Influenza A virus and Scribble. The PDZ domains of Scribble are usually selective for specific C-terminal motifs in proteins. Because NS1 has a canonical PDZ motif we tested if binding to Scribble depends on this motif. We found that Scribble binds NS1; the association is dependent on the NS1 C-terminus that is recognized by PDZ3-4 of Scribble. Together, these results suggest that Scribble is a target for the H5N1 NS1 protein