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J Mol Biol. 2001 Dec 14;314(5):985-92.

Localization of membrane permeabilization and receptor binding sites on the VP4 hemagglutinin of rotavirus: implications for cell entry.

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Departments of Cell and Molecular Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 N. Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


The surface of rotavirus is decorated with 60 spike-like projections, each composed of a dimer of VP4, the viral hemagglutinin. Trypsin cleavage of VP4 generates two fragments, VP8*, which binds sialic acid (SA), and VP5*, containing an integrin binding motif and a hydrophobic region that permeabilizes membranes and is homologous to fusion domains. Although the mechanism for cell entry by this non-enveloped virus is unclear, it is known that trypsin cleavage enhances viral infectivity and facilitates viral entry. We used electron cryo-microscopy and difference map analysis to localize the binding sites for two neutralizing monoclonal antibodies, 7A12 and 2G4, which are directed against the SA-binding site within VP8* and the membrane permeabilization domain within VP5*, respectively. Fab 7A12 binds at the tips of the dimeric heads of VP4, and 2G4 binds in the cleft between the two heads of the spike. When these binding results are combined with secondary structure analysis, we predict that the VP4 heads are composed primarily of beta-sheets in VP8* and that VP5* forms the body and base primarily in beta-structure and alpha-helical conformations, respectively. Based on these results and those of others, a model is proposed for cell entry in which VP8* and VP5* mediate receptor binding and membrane permeabilization, and uncoating occurs during transfer across the lipid bilayer, thereby generating the transcriptionally active particle.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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