BST2/Tetherin inhibition of alphavirus exit

Yaw Shin Ooi, Mathieu Dubé, Margaret Kielian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Alphaviruses such as chikungunya virus (CHIKV) and Semliki Forest virus (SFV) are small enveloped RNA viruses that bud from the plasma membrane. Tetherin/BST2 is an interferon-induced host membrane protein that inhibits the release of many enveloped viruses via direct tethering of budded particles to the cell surface. Alphaviruses have highly organized structures and exclude host membrane proteins from the site of budding, suggesting that their release might be insensitive to tetherin inhibition. Here, we demonstrated that exogenously-expressed tetherin efficiently inhibited the release of SFV and CHIKV particles from host cells without affecting virus entry and infection. Alphavirus release was also inhibited by the endogenous levels of tetherin in HeLa cells. While rubella virus (RuV) and dengue virus (DENV) have structural similarities to alphaviruses, tetherin inhibited the release of RuV but not DENV. We found that two recently identified tetherin isoforms differing in length at the N-terminus exhibited distinct capabilities in restricting alphavirus release. SFV exit was efficiently inhibited by the long isoform but not the short isoform of tetherin, while both isoforms inhibited vesicular stomatitis virus exit. Thus, in spite of the organized structure of the virus particle, tetherin specifically blocks alphavirus release and shows an interesting isoform requirement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2147-2167
Number of pages21
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 22 2015


  • Alphavirus
  • Dengue virus
  • Rubella virus
  • Tetherin/BST2
  • Virus budding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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