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Virology. 2002 Sep 30;301(2):322-333.

Regulation of fusion activity by the cytoplasmic domain of a paramyxovirus F protein.

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Department of Microbiology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.


SER virus is a member of the family Paramyxoviridae, genus Rubulavirus, which has been isolated from pigs. It is very closely related to SV5 virus serologically, in protein profile, and in nucleotide sequence. However, unlike SV5, SER induces minimal syncytium formation in infected CV-1 or BHK cells. Fluorescence transfer experiments between labeled erythrocytes and infected MDBK cells revealed that SER also induces hemifusion and pore formation with reduced efficiency. The virion polypeptide profiles of SER and SV5 are very similar, except that the SER F1 subunit shows an apparent molecular weight that is about 2 kDa higher than that of SV5. Comparison of the deduced amino acid sequences revealed the SER F (551 aa) to be longer than SV5 F (529 aa) by 22 residues in the cytoplasmic tail (CT) domain. The HN and M gene sequences of the viruses were found to be very similar. The SER F showed minimal fusion activity when coexpressed with either SV5 or SER HN. In contrast, SV5 F was highly fusogenic when coexpressed with either HN protein, indicating that the restricted fusion capacity of SER virus is a property of its F protein. Truncation in the CT of SER F by 22 residues completely rescued its ability to cause syncytium formation, whereas other truncations rescued syncytium formation partially. These results demonstrate that an elongated CT of a paramyxovirus F protein suppresses its membrane fusion activity.

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