The viral protein corona directs viral pathogenesis and amyloid aggregation

Kariem Ezzat, Maria Pernemalm, Sandra Pålsson, Thomas C. Roberts, Peter Järver, Aleksandra Dondalska, Burcu Bestas, Michal J. Sobkowiak, Bettina Levänen, Magnus Sköld, Elizabeth A. Thompson, Osama Saher, Otto K. Kari, Tatu Lajunen, Eva Sverremark Ekström, Caroline Nilsson, Yevheniia Ishchenko, Tarja Malm, Matthew J.A. Wood, Ultan F. PowerSergej Masich, Anders Lindén, Johan K. Sandberg, Janne Lehtiö, Anna Lena Spetz, Samir EL Andaloussi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Artificial nanoparticles accumulate a protein corona layer in biological fluids, which significantly influences their bioactivity. As nanosized obligate intracellular parasites, viruses share many biophysical properties with artificial nanoparticles in extracellular environments and here we show that respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) accumulate a rich and distinctive protein corona in different biological fluids. Moreover, we show that corona pre-coating differentially affects viral infectivity and immune cell activation. In addition, we demonstrate that viruses bind amyloidogenic peptides in their corona and catalyze amyloid formation via surface-assisted heterogeneous nucleation. Importantly, we show that HSV-1 catalyzes the aggregation of the amyloid β-peptide (Aβ42), a major constituent of amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease, in vitro and in animal models. Our results highlight the viral protein corona as an acquired structural layer that is critical for viral–host interactions and illustrate a mechanistic convergence between viral and amyloid pathologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2331
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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