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EMBO J. 1997 Feb 3;16(3):578-87.

The paramyxovirus, Sendai virus, V protein encodes a luxury function required for viral pathogenesis.

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Department of Viral Infection, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, Minato-ku, Japan.


The Sendai virus (SeV) V protein is characterized by the unique cysteine-rich domain in its carboxy-terminal half which is fused to the amino-terminal half of the P protein, but its function has remained enigmatic. The V protein-directing mRNA is generated by a remarkable process known as mRNA editing involving the pseudotemplated addition of a single G residue at a specific septinucleotide locus in the P gene, whereas the unedited exact copy encodes the P protein. Here, we introduced two nucleotide changes in the septinucleotide motif (UUUUCCC to UUCUUCC) in a full-length SeV cDNA and were able to recover a virus from the cDNA, which was devoid of mRNA editing and hence unable to synthesize the V protein. Compared with the parental wild-type virus with regard to gene expression, replication and cytopathogenicity in various cell lines in vitro, the V(-) virus was found to be either potentiated or comparable but never attenuated. The V(-) virus, however, showed markedly attenuated in vivo replication capacity in and pathogenicity for mice. Thus, though categorized as a nonessential gene product, SeV V protein encodes a luxury function required for in vivo pathogenicity.

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