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Virology. 1998 Jan 20;240(2):273-81.

Nonstructural protein-2 and the replication of canine parvovirus.

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James A. Baker Institute, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


The nonstructural protein-2 (NS2) of canine parvovirus (CPV) is produced from the left-hand open reading frame of the viral genome and contains 87 amino-terminal amino acids in common with nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) joined to 78 amino acids from an alternative open reading frame. In the minute virus of mice parvovirus NS2 plays a role in controlling capsid protein assembly and translation in a host-specific manner. The predicted NS2 of CPV is divergent from the proteins of the rodent parvoviruses, and the protein and its functions have not been described. We characterized the large and the small splices of CPV using reverse transcriptase-PCR, NS2 was identified using anti-peptide antibodies against the predicted C-terminal sequence and also by expressing the protein from a plasmid vector. The protein could be detected at low levels in the nucleus and the cytoplasm of a proportion of CPV-infected cells, as well as in cells transfected with the expression plasmid. Virus genomes were prepared with mutations in the splice donor or acceptor sites of the NS2-specific intron or with three different termination codons in the NS2-unique exon. Both splice donor and acceptor mutations resulted in the use of previously cryptic splice sites, and the virus containing the splice donor mutation replicated inefficiently. However, the other four mutant viruses were all viable and replicated efficiently in cat and dog cells, and two mutant viruses that were tested appeared to assemble their capsids in the same manner as did the wildtype. After inoculation of dogs an NS2 mutant virus with a termination codon in the NS2-unique exon replicated to titers similar to those seen for wildtype CPV in several tissues examined.

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