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J Gen Virol. 2003 Aug;84(Pt 8):2111-6.

The simian virus 40 minor structural protein Vp3, but not Vp2, is essential for infectious virion formation.

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Department of Biological Sciences, California State University at Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90840-3702, USA.


The SV40 capsid is composed of pentameric capsomeres of the major structural protein Vp1. The two minor structural proteins, Vp2 and Vp3, interact with the capsid. Here, the roles of Vp2 and Vp3 were explored during the course of SV40 infection. Start codons of Vp2, Vp3, or both Vp2 and Vp3, were destroyed by site-directed mutagenesis, and mutant genomes were transfected into CV-1 cells. SV40DeltaVp2 produced plaques and infectious virion particles with titres indistinguishable from wild-type. SV40DeltaVp3 and SV40 DeltaVp2/Vp3 were defective in plaque formation and rendered no infectious particles. All three mutants showed normal nuclear localization of T-Ag and Vp1; they also showed packaging of SV40 DNA by nuclease digestion assays. Thus, Vp3 is essential for formation of infectious SV40 particles, whereas Vp2 is not. One critical role of full-length Vp3 appears to be in virus-cell interactions at post-packaging steps of a permissive infection.

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