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Virus Res. 2004 Dec;106(2):133-45.

Molecular mechanism of paramyxovirus budding.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester Medical Center, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Box 672, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.


Components of paramyxoviruses are assembled at the plasma membrane of infected cells, and progeny viruses are formed by the budding process. Although the molecular mechanisms that drive budding (membrane curving and "pinching-off" reaction) are not well understood, the viral matrix (M) protein is thought to play a major role in the process. The M protein forms a dense layer tightly associated with the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane of infected cells. Expression of the M protein of some paramyxoviruses results in the formation and release of virus-like particles that contain the M protein; thus, in these viruses, the M protein alone can apparently trigger all steps required for the formation and release of virus-like particles. M also interacts specifically with viral envelope glycoproteins and nucleocapsids and is involved in directed transport of viral components to the budding site at the apical surface of polarized cells. In addition, protein-protein interactions between M and the cytoplasmic tail of viral glycoproteins and between M and the nucleocapsid affect the efficiency of virus production. The structural organization of the virion and the functions of the M protein clearly indicate that this protein orchestrates the budding of paramyxovirus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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