Host factor Rab11a is critical for efficient assembly of influenza A virus genomic segments

Julianna Han, Ketaki Ganti, Veeresh Kumar Sali, Carly Twigg, Yifeng Zhang, Senthamizharasi Manivasagam, Chieh Yu Liang, Olivia A. Vogel, Iris Huang, Shanan N. Emmanuel, Jesse Plung, Lillianna Radoshevich, Jasmine T. Perez, Anice C. Lowen, Balaji Manicassamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


It is well documented that influenza A viruses selectively package 8 distinct viral ribonucleoprotein complexes (vRNPs) into each virion; however, the role of host factors in genome assembly is not completely understood. To evaluate the significance of cellular factors in genome assembly, we generated a reporter virus carrying a tetracysteine tag in the NP gene (NP-Tc virus) and assessed the dynamics of vRNP localization with cellular components by fluorescence microscopy. At early time points, vRNP complexes were preferentially exported to the MTOC; subsequently, vRNPs associated on vesicles positive for cellular factor Rab11a and formed distinct vRNP bundles that trafficked to the plasma membrane on microtubule networks. In Rab11a deficient cells, however, vRNP bundles were smaller in the cytoplasm with less co-localization between different vRNP segments. Furthermore, Rab11a deficiency increased the production of non-infectious particles with higher RNA copy number to PFU ratios, indicative of defects in specific genome assembly. These results indicate that Rab11a+ vesicles serve as hubs for the congregation of vRNP complexes and enable specific genome assembly through vRNP:vRNP interactions, revealing the importance of Rab11a as a critical host factor for influenza A virus genome assembly.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1009517
JournalPLoS Pathogens
Issue number5
StatePublished - 10 May 2021
Externally publishedYes


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