Kinesin-1 transports morphologically distinct intracellular virions during vaccinia infection

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Intracellular mature virions (IMV) are the first and most abundant infectious form of vaccinia virus to assemble during its replication cycle. IMV can undergo microtubule-based motility, but their directionality and the motor involved in their transport remain unknown. Here, we demonstrate that IMV, like intracellular enveloped virions (IEV), the second form of vaccinia, undergo anterograde transport and recruit kinesin-1. In vitro reconstitution of virion transport reveals that IMV and IEV move toward microtubule plus-ends with respective velocities of 0.66 and 0.56 μm/s. Quantitative imaging establishes IMV and IEV recruit an average of 65 and 115 kinesin-1 motor complexes respectively. In the absence of kinesin-1 there is a near-complete loss of in vitro motility and defects in the cellular spread of both virions. Our observations demonstrate kinesin-1 transports two morphologically distinct forms of vaccinia. Reconstitution of vaccinia-based microtubule motility in vitro provides a new model to investigate how motor number and regulation impacts transport of a bona fide kinesin-1 cargo.

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