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Virology. 2008 Mar 15;372(2):340-8. Epub 2007 Nov 28.

Chlorella viruses evoke a rapid release of K+ from host cells during the early phase of infection.

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Institute of Botany, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Schnittspahnstrasse 3, D-64287 Darmstadt, Germany.


Infection of Chlorella NC64A cells by PBCV-1 produces a rapid depolarization of the host probably by incorporation of a viral-encoded K(+) channel (Kcv) into the host membrane. To examine the effect of an elevated conductance, we monitored the virus-stimulated efflux of K(+) from the chlorella cells. The results indicate that all 8 chlorella viruses tested evoked a host specific K(+) efflux with a concomitant decrease in the intracellular K(+). This K(+) efflux is partially reduced by blockers of the Kcv channel. Qualitatively these results support the hypothesis that depolarization and K(+) efflux are at least partially mediated by Kcv. The virus-triggered K(+) efflux occurs in the same time frame as host cell wall degradation and ejection of viral DNA. Therefore, it is reasonable to postulate that loss of K(+) and associated water fluxes from the host lower the pressure barrier to aid ejection of DNA from the virus particles into the host.

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