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Vet Microbiol. 2000 May 22;74(1-2):87-100.

The influenza A virus M1 protein interacts with the cellular receptor of activated C kinase (RACK) 1 and can be phosphorylated by protein kinase C.

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Institut für Virologie, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Robert-Koch-Str. 17, 35037, Marburg, Germany.


The M1 protein of influenza A virus has multiple regulatory functions during the infectious cycle, which include mediation of nuclear export of viral ribonucleoproteins, inhibition of viral transcription and a crucial role in virus assembly and budding. The only known modification of the M1 protein is by phosphorylation through yet-to-be-identified kinases. We postulated that at least some of the M1 functions are exerted or regulated through interactions with cellular components. In a screen for such cellular mediators, the protein receptor of the activated C-kinase (RACK 1) was identified by its interaction with the viral M1 protein in the yeast two hybrid system. The physical M1-RACK 1 interaction was confirmed in glutathione-S-transferase-based coprecipitation assays for the diverged M1 proteins of avian, swine and human influenza A virus strains. This conservation suggests that the M1-RACK 1 interaction is of general importance during influenza A virus infections. RACK 1 has previously been identified to specifically bind the activated form of protein kinase C (PKC) and is assumed to anchor the kinase at membranes in the vicinity of its substrates. Since the M1 protein becomes phosphorylated during influenza virus infection, we examined if PKC could catalyze the phosphate transfer. We demonstrate that virion-derived and recombinant M1 protein can indeed be efficiently phosphorylated by purified PKC. Moreover, in cell extracts, we detected M1 phosphorylation activity that was strongly reduced in the presence of the PKC-specific inhibitor compound GF109203X. These data suggest that PKC is the main M1-phosphorylating activity in the cell. Since both, the M1 protein and PKC have been shown to interact with RACK 1, we suggest that the M1-RACK 1 interaction is involved in M1 phosphorylation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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