Progeny particles of non-enveloped lytic parvoviruses were previously shown to be actively transported to the cell periphery through vesicles in a gelsolin-dependent manner. This process involves rearrangement and destruction of actin filaments, while microtubules become protected throughout the infection. Here the focus is on the intracellular egress pathway, as well as its impact on the properties and release of progeny virions. By colocalization with cellular marker proteins and specific modulation of the pathways through over-expression of variant effector genes transduced by recombinant adeno-associated virus vectors, we show that progeny PV particles become engulfed into COPII-vesicles in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and are transported through the Golgi to the plasma membrane. Besides known factors like sar1, sec24, rab1, the ERM family proteins, radixin and moesin play (an) essential role(s) in the formation/loading and targeting of virus-containing COPII-vesicles. These proteins also contribute to the transport through ER and Golgi of the well described analogue of cellular proteins, the secreted Gaussia luciferase in absence of virus infection. It is therefore likely that radixin and moesin also serve for a more general function in cellular exocytosis. Finally, parvovirus egress via ER and Golgi appears to be necessary for virions to gain full infectivity through post-assembly modifications (e.g. phosphorylation). While not being absolutely required for cytolysis and progeny virus release, vesicular transport of parvoviruses through ER and Golgi significantly accelerates these processes pointing to a regulatory role of this transport pathway.
Previously, it was thought that non-enveloped lytic parvoviruses were released through a lytic burst of cells at the end of infection. However, recent work demonstrated that these small non-enveloped single-stranded DNA viruses are actively transported through vesicles from the nucleus, the site of replication and assembly, to the cell periphery. The current investigation demonstrates that progeny particles become engulfed into COPII-vesicles in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and are transported through the Golgi to the plasma membrane (PM). ERM family proteins radixin and moesin appear to play an essential role in this cellular secretion pathway. While passing through ER and Golgi cisternae, PVs maturate through post-assembly modifications, which significantly increase the infectivity of progeny virions. Finally, the vesicular transport of parvoviral particles was shown to regulate virus-induced cytolysis, thereby accelerating the further release and spread of progeny virions. As rodent PVs are currently viewed as oncolytic agents for cancer virotherapy, it is important to further investigate the mechanism of PV egress — not only to improve the spreading of these agents through the tumor mass, but also to optimize the induction of an anti-tumor immune response upon virus — induced cytolysis.