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Virology. 2000 Nov 25;277(2):345-57.

VP5, the nonstructural polypeptide of infectious bursal disease virus, accumulates within the host plasma membrane and induces cell lysis.

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Department of Biología Molecular y Celular, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain.


Infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) encodes a 17-kDa nonstructural polypeptide known as VP5. This polypeptide is not essential for virus replication in vitro but it plays an important role in in vivo dissemination and pathogenesis. We have characterized the expression of VP5 in three eukaryotic systems: (i) IBDV-infected chicken embryo fibroblasts; (ii) BSC-1 cells infected with a recombinant vaccinia virus vector; and (iii) Cos-1 cells transiently transfected with a plasmid vector. Immunofluorescence analyses showed that upon expression VP5 accumulates within the plasma membrane. This finding was consistent with sequence-based topology predictions, indicating that VP5 is a class II membrane protein with a cytoplasmic N-terminus and an extracellular C-terminal domain. Brefeldin A treatment of VP5-expressing cells prevented the accumulation of this polypeptide in the plasma membrane, thus showing the requirement of an active exocytic pathway to reach that compartment. Expression of VP5 was shown to be highly cytotoxic. Induction of VP5 expression resulted in the alteration of cell morphology, the disruption of the plasma membrane, and a drastic reduction of cell viability. VP5-induced cytotoxicity was prevented by blocking its transport to the membrane with Brefeldin A. Our findings suggest that VP5 plays an important role in the release of the IBDV progeny.

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