Zika virus NS2A protein induces the degradation of KPNA2 (karyopherin subunit alpha 2) via chaperone-mediated autophagy

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Summary: KPNA2/importin-alpha1 (karyopherin subunit alpha 2) is the primary nucleocytoplasmic transporter for some transcription factors to activate cellular proliferation and differentiation. Aberrant increase of KPNA2 level is identified as a prognostic marker in a variety of cancers. Yet, the turnover mechanism of KPNA2 remains unknown. Here, we demonstrate that KPNA2 is degraded via the chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) and that Zika virus (ZIKV) enhances the KPNA2 degradation. KPNA2 contains a CMA motif, which possesses an indispensable residue Gln109 for the CMA-mediated degradation. RNAi-mediated knockdown of LAMP2A, a vital component of the CMA pathway, led to a higher level of KPNA2. Moreover, ZIKV reduced KPNA2 via the viral NS2A protein, which contains an essential residue Thr100 for inducing the CMA-mediated KPNA2 degradation. Notably, mutant ZIKV with T100A alteration in NS2A replicates much weaker than the wild-type virus. Also, knockdown of KPNA2 led to a higher ZIKV viral yield, which indicates that KPNA2 mediates certain antiviral effects. These data provide insights into the KPNA2 turnover and the ZIKV-cell interactions.

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