Evidence for the role of Rab11-positive recycling endosomes as intermediates in coronavirus egress from epithelial cells
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonHistochemistry and Cell Biology. 2022, 158, 241-251. 10.1007/s00418-022-02115-y
After their assembly by budding into the lumen of the intermediate compartment (IC) at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)–Golgi interface, coronaviruses (CoVs) are released from their host cells following a pathway that remains poorly understood. The traditional view that CoV exit occurs via the constitutive secretory route has recently been questioned by studies suggesting that this process involves unconventional secretion. Here, using the avian infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) as a well-established model virus, we have applied confocal microscopy to investigate the pathway of CoV egress from epithelial Vero cells. We report a novel effect of IBV infection on cellular endomembranes, namely, the compaction of the pericentrosomal endocytic recycling compartment (ERC) defined by the GTPase Rab11, which coincides with the previously described Golgi fragmentation, as well as virus release. Despite Golgi disassembly, the IC elements containing the major IBV membrane protein (M)—which mostly associates with newly formed virus particles—maintain their close spatial connection with the Rab11-positive endocytic recycling system. Moreover, partial colocalization of the M protein with Rab11 was observed, whereas M displayed negligible overlap with LAMP-1, indicating that IBV egress does not occur via late endosomes or lysosomes. Synchronization of virus release using temperature-shift protocols was accompanied by increased colocalization of M and Rab11 in vesicular and vacuolar structures in the pericentrosomal region and at the cell periphery, most likely representing IBV-containing transport carriers. In conclusion, these results add CoVs to the growing list of viruses exploiting the endocytic recycling apparatus defined by Rab11 for their assembly and/or release.