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J Virol. 1994 Oct;68(10):6215-22.

Two hepatitis C virus glycoprotein E2 products with different C termini.

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Virology Division, National Cancer Center Research Institute, Tokyo, Japan.


Processing of the boundary region between the putative structural and nonstructural regions of the hepatitis C virus precursor polyprotein was analyzed by in vitro translation using reticulocyte lysate in the presence of canine microsomal membranes. At this boundary in the precursor polyprotein, the most carboxy-terminal of the structural proteins, gp70 (E2), is proximal to the amino terminal of the nonstructural protein p21 (NS2). The presence of a novel microsomal membrane-dependent cleavage site was observed at the region upstream of the amino-terminal end of p21 (NS2) in the precursor polyprotein. The cleavage site was assigned to amino acid residues 746/747 in the hepatitis C virus precursor polyprotein. Inefficient cleavage of this site resulted in the production of two forms of E2 products with different sizes of peptide backbones. Translation and cleavage of various C-terminal deletion constructs established the significance of the C-terminal hydrophobic amino acid sequences of E2 products in membrane anchoring.

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