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Virology. 1993 Jun;194(2):616-26.

Analysis of a potential myristoylation site in hepatitis A virus capsid protein VP4.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of California, Irvine 92717.


The VP4 capsid protein of several picornaviruses has been shown to be myristoylated at an N-terminal glycine residue. Myristoylation occurs after removal of an initial methionine residue or a leader peptide, resulting in the exposure of an N-terminal eight amino acid myristoylation signal including a consensus G-x-x-x-T/S motif. Analysis of the amino acid sequence of hepatitis A virus (HAV) capsid protein reveals a potential myristoylation site beginning at position 5 of the VP4 sequence. To assess the significance of this apparent myristoylation signal, mutations were engineered (G to A; T to N) to alter the consensus sequence as well as the potential cleavage site that would be required to remove the short leader. An additional mutant was constructed in which the proposed leader was deleted. Expression of these HAV sequences in BS-C-1 cells showed that leader cleavage did not occur in the wild-type or mutant proteins, although the threonine to asparagine mutation resulted in reduced translation and processing efficiency. Transfection of BS-C-1 or FRhK-4 cells with transcripts derived from the wild-type or mutagenized cDNA clones gave rise to infectious virus, with no detectable incorporation of myristate. The results indicate that HAV does not require leader cleavage and myristoylation of VP4 for growth in cultured cells.

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