Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Sciences

First Advisor

Jason W. Botten


Arenaviruses and hantaviruses are human pathogens that cause significant morbidity and mortality. The current lack of vaccines and treatment options for these viruses is a global concern. Despite producing only 4 proteins, these viruses are able to maintain a persistent and asymptomatic infection in wild rodents while being continuously shed into the environment. In humans, these viruses cause a spectrum of diseases ranging from aseptic meningitis to severe hemorrhagic fever syndromes. Little is known about how arenavirus and hantavirus proteins engage and interact with the human proteome during the complex process of viral biogenesis, or how the interactions with human proteins contribute to viral propagation as well as the onset and progression of disease. This dissertation provides a road map of the protein interactions formed between a prototypic envelope glycoprotein encoded by either an arenavirus or hantavirus, and the human proteome.

The viral envelope glycoprotein (GP) decorates the surface of the virion. The primary function of the GP is to mediate attachment of the virus to specific cellular receptors, and after internalization of the virion, fuse the viral membrane with an internal endosomal membrane. In order to carry out these specific tasks, the viral GPs must first co-opt the extensive machinery found within the cellular secretory pathway to coordinate the proper glycosylation, folding, proteolytic maturation, and targeting of the GP during its biosynthesis. We identified a human protein with a conserved interaction amongst these two groups of viral GPs termed the Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER)-Golgi Intermediate Compartment Protein of 53 kiloDaltons (ERGIC-53). ERGIC-53 is an intracellular cargo receptor that normally cycles within the early secretory pathway of cells, where it is responsible for ferrying a small subset of cellular glycoproteins, most notably the coagulation factors FV and FVIII, from the ER to the Golgi apparatus.

Herein we describe a novel role for ERGIC-53 in the propagation of not only arenaviruses, but also coronaviruses and filoviruses. Following infection with an arenavirus, ERGIC-53 leaves the early secretory pathway and becomes incorporated into the virus as it pinches off from the cell surface. Newly formed viruses lacking ERGIC-53 are no longer infectious due, in part, to a defect in their ability to attach to host cells. We suggest that ERGIC-53 represents a promising broad-spectrum antiviral target because of its association with the GPs from many families of pathogenic viruses, as well as its ability to exert control over their infectivity; and finally, because ERGIC-53 itself is not required for human health. The discovery of ERGIC-53 outside of its normal location inside of cells suggests that it may have additional unknown functions. Lastly, by revealing the importance of the cellular protein in controlling viral infectivity, we provide insight into the ongoing co-evolution of virus and host.



Number of Pages

330 p.