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Biol Chem. 1999 Mar;380(3):305-14.

Chaperones involved in hepatitis B virus morphogenesis.

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Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Germany.


Little is known about host cell factors necessary for hepatitis B virus (HBV) assembly which involves envelopment of cytosolic nucleocapsids by the S, M and L transmembrane viral envelope proteins and subsequent budding into intraluminal cisternae. Central to virogenesis is the L protein that mediates hepatocyte receptor binding and envelopment of capsids. To serve these topologically conflicting roles, L protein exhibits an unusual dual membrane topology, disposing its N-terminal preS domain inside and outside of the virion lipid envelope. The mixed topology is achieved by posttranslational preS translocation of about half of the L protein molecules across a post-endoplasmic reticulum membrane. Here we identify and characterize a preS-specific sequence that confers the suppression of cotranslational translocation even of a model reporter. This cytosolic anchorage sequence specifically binds the cognate heat shock protein Hsc70, thus indicating chaperone participitation in HBV morphogenesis. Conversely, the M envelope protein needs the assistance of the chaperone calnexin for proper folding and trafficking. Calnexin selectively binds to the N-glycan, specific for M, rather than to the N-glycan, common to all three envelope proteins. As inhibition of the calnexin-M interaction blocks the secretion of viral envelopes, we propose an essential role for calnexin, as well as for Hsc70, in chaperoning HBV assembly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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