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J Virol. 2003 Oct;77(20):11040-9.

Interacting domains of the HN and F proteins of newcastle disease virus.

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Program in Immunology and Virology, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts 01655, USA.


The activation of most paramyxovirus fusion proteins (F proteins) requires not only cleavage of F(0) to F(1) and F(2) but also coexpression of the homologous attachment protein, hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) or hemagglutinin (H). The type specificity requirement for HN or H protein coexpression strongly suggests that an interaction between HN and F proteins is required for fusion, and studies of chimeric HN proteins have implicated the membrane-proximal ectodomain in this interaction. Using biotin-labeled peptides with sequences of the Newcastle disease virus (NDV) F protein heptad repeat 2 (HR2) domain, we detected a specific interaction with amino acids 124 to 152 from the NDV HN protein. Biotin-labeled HR2 peptides bound to glutathione S-transferase (GST) fusion proteins containing these HN protein sequences but not to GST or to GST containing HN protein sequences corresponding to amino acids 49 to 118. To verify the functional significance of the interaction, two point mutations in the HN protein gene, I133L and L140A, were made individually by site-specific mutagenesis to produce two mutant proteins. These mutations inhibited the fusion promotion activities of the proteins without significantly affecting their surface expression, attachment activities, or neuraminidase activities. Furthermore, these changes in the sequence of amino acids 124 to 152 in the GST-HN fusion protein that bound HR2 peptides affected the binding of the peptides. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that HN protein binds to the F protein HR2 domain, an interaction important for the fusion promotion activity of the HN protein.

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