Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and Rabies Virus (RABV) are the prototypic members of the rhabdovirus family. These viruses have a particularly broad host range, and despite the availability of vaccines, RABV still causes more than 50,000 human deaths a year. Trafficking of the virion or viral particles is important at several stages of the replicative life cycle, including cellular entry, localization into the cytoplasmic inclusion bodies which primarily house the transcription and replication of the viral genome, and migration to the plasma membrane from whence the virus is released by budding. Intriguingly, specific viral proteins, VSV M and RABV P have also been shown to undergo intracellular trafficking independent of the other viral apparatus. These proteins are multifunctional, and play roles in antagonism of host processes, namely the IFN system, and as such enable viral evasion of the innate cellular antiviral response. A body of recent research has been aimed at characterizing the mechanisms by which these proteins are able to shuttle between and localize to various subcellular sites, including the nucleus, which is not required during the cytoplasmic replicative life cycle of the virus. This work has indicated that trafficking of these proteins plays a significant role in determining the ability of the viruses to replicate and cause infection, and as such, represents a viable target for development of a new generation of vaccines and prophylactic therapeutics which are required to battle these pathogens of human and agricultural significance.
Keywords: Immune evasion, interferon, rhabdovirus, rabies virus, nucleocytoplamic shuttling, trafficking, vesicular stomatitis virus, cytoplasmic inclusion bodies, proteins