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Virology. 1992 Apr;187(2):796-800.

Mouse Mx2 protein inhibits vesicular stomatitis virus but not influenza virus.

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Institut für Immunologie und Virologie, Universität Zürich, Switzerland.


Some but not all known Mx proteins possess intrinsic antiviral activity. The mouse genome contains two related interferon-regulated genes, designated Mx1 and Mx2. Mx1 codes for a nuclear 72-kDa protein which selectively interferes with the multiplication of influenza viruses. The Mx2 gene is crippled by a mutation in commonly used laboratory mouse strains and, hence, the antiviral potential of the Mx2 protein was unknown. We have corrected the frameshift mutation in a cloned Mx2 cDNA by site-directed mutagenesis. Expression of the repaired Mx2 cDNA in Swiss mouse 3T3 cells gave rise to an 80-kDa cytoplasmic protein that cross-reacted with antibodies to other Mx proteins. In contrast to the cases of mouse Mx1 and human Mx proteins, permanent cell lines were extremely unstable with respect to Mx2 expression. Analysis at the single-cell level revealed that mouse Mx2 conferred to the transfected cells a high degree of resistance to vesicular stomatitis virus, but had no inhibitory effect on influenza virus. The antiviral potential of mouse Mx2 is thus similar to that of rat Mx2 protein.

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