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Virology. 2002 Sep 1;300(2):244-54.

Sorting of the respiratory syncytial virus matrix protein into detergent-resistant structures is dependent on cell-surface expression of the glycoproteins.

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MRC Virology Unit, Institute of Virology, Church Street, Glasgow, G11 5JR, Scotland, United Kingdom.


The interaction of the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) Matrix (M) protein with the plasma membrane was investigated using polyclonal and monoclonal antisera raised against recombinant M expressed in bacteria. M bound mainly to the plasma membrane, although a significant proportion bound to internal membranes. However, no localisation of M with the Golgi was observed, suggesting that transport of M to the plasma membrane was independent of the transport mechanism for the viral glycoproteins. Expression from a recombinant baculovirus demonstrated the ability of M to bind membranes in the absence of viral glycoprotein expression. When cell-surface expression of the viral glycoproteins was prevented using Brefeldin A, M was still found in association with the plasma membrane, but the characteristics of M's membrane-binding ability were different to that found in untreated infected cells. In the presence of normal glycoprotein expression, M was sorted into lipid rafts and, in addition, formed structures that could only be disrupted by treatment with high salt buffers, a feature suggesting an interaction with the cytoskeleton or the formation of strong intramolecular associations. Brefeldin A prevented M from being sorted into lipid rafts or from forming strong intramolecular associations. Brefeldin A also affected the stability of M bound to the plasma membrane, as M was more readily dissociated in the presence of the inhibitor. Coexpression of M and F resulted in the incorporation of M into lipid rafts but did not cause the formation of the strong intramolecular bonds, suggesting that additional factors are required for this phenomena.

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