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J Gen Virol. 2004 Dec;85(Pt 12):3637-45.

Viral envelope protein glycosylation is a molecular determinant of the neuroinvasiveness of the New York strain of West Nile virus.

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Laboratory of Public Health, Department of Environmental Veterinary Sciences, Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Hokkaido, 060-0818, Japan.


Two New York (NY) strains of the West Nile (WN) virus were plaque-purified and four variants that had different amino acid sequences at the N-linked glycosylation site in the envelope (E) protein sequence were isolated. The E protein was glycosylated in only two of these strain variants. To determine the relationship between E protein glycosylation and pathogenicity of the WN virus, 6-week-old mice were infected subcutaneously with these variants. Mice infected with viruses that carried the glycosylated E protein developed lethal infection, whereas mice infected with viruses that carried the non-glycosylated E protein showed low mortality. In contrast, intracerebral infection of mice with viruses carrying either the glycosylated or non-glycosylated forms of the E protein resulted in lethal infection. These results suggested that E protein glycosylation is a molecular determinant of neuroinvasiveness in the NY strains of WN virus.

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