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Virology. 2002 Mar 30;295(1):160-71.

Communication between S1N330 and a region in S2 of murine coronavirus spike protein is important for virus entry into cells expressing CEACAM1b receptor.

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National Institute of Neuroscience, NCNP, 4-1-1 Ogawahigashi, Kodaira, Tokyo, 187-8502, Japan.


The soluble receptor-resistant (srr) mutants, srr7 and srr11, isolated from a murine coronavirus, mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) JHMV, have an amino acid mutation at positions 1114 (Leu to Phe) and 65 (Leu to His), respectively, in the spike (S) protein. These mutants failed to efficiently infect BHK cells expressing CEACAM1b (BHK-R2), due to their low entry into this cell line, although they infected cells expressing CEACAM1a (BHK-R1) in a manner similar to that of wild-type (wt) JHMV cl-2 (Matsuyama and Taguchi, Virology 273, 80-89, 2000). Following the repeated passage of these mutants through BHK-R2 cells, viruses were no longer isolated from srr11-infected cells, while two distinct mutants, srr7A and srr7B, were obtained from srr7-infected cells. Srr7A and srr7B grew 2 log10 higher than srr7 and induced fusion in BHK-R2 cells, being similar to wt virus. In addition to the amino acid change at position 1114 that stemmed from parental srr7, srr7A and srr7B had mutations around position 280, corresponding to the third region of the S1N330 receptor-binding site (S1N330-III) common to all MHV strains examined thus far. Srr7A and srr7B S proteins showed high fusogenicity in both BHK-R1 and BHK-R2 cells, like the wt virus, while srr7Aa and srr7Ba S proteins, which had mutations in S1N330-III but not at amino acid 1114, exhibited profoundly reduced fusion activity in these cell lines. These findings suggest that communication between S1N330-III and the amino acid at position 1114 is important for efficient fusion activity in BHK-R2 cells. S1N330-III is a possible region in the S1 involved in viral entry into cells.

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