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Biochemistry. 2000 Feb 8;39(5):1083-90.

The amino-terminal nine amino acid sequence of poliovirus capsid VP4 protein is sufficient to confer N-myristoylation and targeting to detergent-insoluble membranes.

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Centro de Biología Molecular "Severo Ochoa", Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain.


The confinement of membrane proteins by lipid-lipid interactions into specialized detergent-insoluble membrane (DIM) microdomains has been proposed as a general mechanism to recruit selectively lipid-modified proteins and specific transmembrane proteins. Poliovirus capsid VP4 protein and its precursors are myristoylated at the NH(2)-terminal Gly residue. To determine whether poliovirus uses DIMs during its replicative cycle, we isolated DIMs from poliovirus-infected HeLa cells and identified the presence of capsid proteins and their precursors, proteinases 2A and 3C, and other viral proteins involved in poliovirus RNA replication such as protein 2C and the polymerase 3D. The morphology of these DIMs was similar to that of the previously described rosette-like vesicles associated with replication complexes isolated from poliovirus-infected cells. To examine the possible role of the myristoyl moiety in the targeting of poliovirus structural proteins to DIMs, we generated a chimeric protein consisting of the nine amino-terminal amino acids from VP4 fused to the amino terminus of the green fluorescent protein (GFP). The selected VP4 sequence was sufficient to confer N-myristoylation and targeting to DIMs to the GFP chimera. Mutations within this sequence known to affect both myristoylation and poliovirus assembly abrogated the targeting of the GFP chimera. These results indicate that the myristoylated amino-terminal nonapeptide from poliovirus VP4 protein constitutes a signal for incorporation into DIMs.

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