A novel sorting motif present in the reovirus p14 fusion–associated small transmembrane protein directs interaction with GTP-Rab11 at the TGN and sorting into AP-1–coated vesicles for trafficking to the plasma membrane. This is the first example of cargo protein interaction with activated Rab11 mediating anterograde trafficking from the TGN.
The reovirus fusion–associated small transmembrane (FAST) proteins comprise a unique family of viral membrane fusion proteins dedicated to inducing cell–cell fusion. We recently reported that a polybasic motif (PBM) in the cytosolic tail of reptilian reovirus p14 FAST protein functions as a novel tribasic Golgi export signal. Using coimmunoprecipitation and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) assays, we now show the PBM directs interaction of p14 with GTP-Rab11. Overexpression of dominant-negative Rab11 and RNA interference knockdown of endogenous Rab11 inhibited p14 plasma membrane trafficking and resulted in p14 accumulation in the Golgi complex. This is the first example of Golgi export to the plasma membrane that is dependent on the interaction of membrane protein cargo with activated Rab11. RNA interference and immunofluorescence microscopy further revealed that p14 Golgi export is dependent on AP-1 (but not AP-3 or AP-4) and that Rab11 and AP-1 both colocalize with p14 at the TGN. Together these results imply the PBM mediates interactions of p14 with activated Rab11 at the TGN, resulting in p14 sorting into AP1-coated vesicles for anterograde TGN–plasma membrane transport.