Analysis of IFITM-IFITM Interactions by a Flow Cytometry-Based FRET Assay
Winkler, Michael ; Wrensch, Florian ; Bosch, Pascale ; Knoth, Maike ; Schindler, Michael ; Gärtner, Sabine ; Pöhlmann, Stefan
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/16799
The interferon-induced transmembrane proteins 1-3 (IFITM1-3) inhibit host cell entry of several viruses. However, it is incompletely understood how IFITM1-3 exert antiviral activity. Two phenylalanine residues, F75 and F78, within the intramembrane domain 1 (IM1) were previously shown to be required for IFITM3/IFITM3 interactions and for inhibition of viral entry, suggesting that IFITM/IFITM interactions might be pivotal to antiviral activity. Here, we employed a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) assay to analyze IFITM/IFITM interactions. For assay calibration, we equipped two cytosolic, non-interacting proteins, super yellow fluorescent protein (SYFP) and super cyan fluorescent protein (SCFP), with signals that target proteins to membrane rafts and also analyzed a SCFP-SYFP fusion protein. This strategy allowed us to discriminate background signals resulting from colocalization of proteins at membrane subdomains from signals elicited by protein-protein interactions. Coexpression of IFITM1-3 and IFITM5 fused to fluorescent proteins elicited strong FRET signals, and mutation of F75 and F78 in IFITM3 (mutant IFITM3-FF) abrogated antiviral activity, as expected, but did not alter cellular localization and FRET signals. Moreover, IFITM3-FF co-immunoprecipitated efficiently with wild type (wt) IFITM3, lending further support to the finding that lack of antiviral activity of IFITM3-FF was not due to altered membrane targeting or abrogated IFITM3-IFITM3 interactions. Collectively, we report an assay that allows quantifying IFITM/IFITM interactions. Moreover, we confirm residues F75 and F78 as critical for antiviral activity but also show that these residues are dispensable for IFITM3 membrane localization and IFITM3/IFITM3 interactions.