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J Virol. 1999 Apr;73(4):2717-28.

Mutation of the YXXL endocytosis motif in the cytoplasmic tail of pseudorabies virus gE.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA.


The role of alphaherpesvirus membrane protein internalization during the course of viral infection remains a matter of speculation. To determine the role of internalization of the pseudorabies virus (PRV) gE and gI proteins, we constructed viral mutants encoding specific mutations in the cytoplasmic tail of the gE gene that inhibited internalization of the gE-gI complex. We used these mutants to assess the role of gE-gI endocytosis in incorporation of the proteins into the viral envelope and in gE-mediated spread or gE-promoted virulence. In addition, we report that another viral mutant, PRV 25, which encodes a gE protein defective in endocytosis, contains an additional, previously uncharacterized mutation in the gE gene. We compared PRV 25 to another viral mutant, PRV 107, that does not express the cytoplasmic tail of the gE protein. The gE protein encoded by PRV 107 is also defective in endocytosis. We conclude that efficient endocytosis of gE is not required for gE incorporation into virions, gE-mediated virulence, or spread of virus in the rat central nervous system. However, we do correlate the defect in endocytosis to a small-plaque phenotype in cultured cells.

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