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J Virol. 2013 Dec;87(24):13520-31. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02123-13. Epub 2013 Oct 2.

Mutations in the parainfluenza virus 5 fusion protein reveal domains important for fusion triggering and metastability.

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Department of Molecular Biosciences.


Paramyxovirus membrane glycoproteins F (fusion protein) and HN, H, or G (attachment protein) are critical for virus entry, which occurs through fusion of viral and cellular envelopes. The F protein folds into a homotrimeric, metastable prefusion form that can be triggered by the attachment protein to undergo a series of structural rearrangements, ultimately folding into a stable postfusion form. In paramyxovirus-infected cells, the F protein is activated in the Golgi apparatus by cleavage adjacent to a hydrophobic fusion peptide that inserts into the target membrane, eventually bringing the membranes together by F refolding. However, it is not clear how the attachment protein, known as HN in parainfluenza virus 5 (PIV5), interacts with F and triggers F to initiate fusion. To understand the roles of various F protein domains in fusion triggering and metastability, single point mutations were introduced into the PIV5 F protein. By extensive study of F protein cleavage activation, surface expression, and energetics of fusion triggering, we found a role for an immunoglobulin-like (Ig-like) domain, where multiple hydrophobic residues on the PIV5 F protein may mediate F-HN interactions. Additionally, destabilizing mutations of PIV5 F that resulted in HN trigger-independent mutant F proteins were identified in a region along the border of F trimer subunits. The positions of the potential HN-interacting region and the region important for F stability in the lower part of the PIV5 F prefusion structure provide clues to the receptor-binding initiated, HN-mediated F trigger.

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