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Virology. 1998 Dec 5;252(1):137-48.

Role of cellular actin in the gene expression and morphogenesis of human respiratory syncytial virus.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Medicine, University of South Alabama, Mobile 36688-0002, USA.


Cytoskeletal protein actin and nonactin cellular proteins were essential for human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) gene expression. In vitro, specific antibodies against actin inhibited RSV transcription, whereas antibodies against other cytoskeletal proteins had little or no effect. Affinity purified cellular actin or bacterially expressed recombinant actin activated RSV transcription. However, optimal transcription required additional cellular protein(s) that appeared to function as accessory factor(s) for actin. In the absence of actin, these proteins did not activate viral transcription. Purified viral nucleocapsids contained actin, but no cytokeratin, tubulin, or vimentin. Cytochalasin D or DNasel--agents that destabilize actin polymers--had little effect on RSV transcription. RSV infection itself seemed to alter the structure of the cellular actin filaments. Treatment of infected cells with cytochalasin D produced a more severe disruption of the filaments and drastically reduced the production of infectious virus particles but still had little effect on intracellular synthesis of viral macromolecules. Thus actin seems to serve a dual role in RSV life cycle: its monomeric form as well as polymeric form activate viral transcription, while only the microfilament form may take part in viral morphogenesis and/or budding.

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