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Virology. 2011 Jul 20;416(1-2):32-41. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2011.04.015. Epub 2011 May 20.

The parvoviral capsid controls an intracellular phase of infection essential for efficient killing of stepwise-transformed human fibroblasts.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, Yale University Medical School, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Members of the rodent subgroup of the genus Parvovirus exhibit lytic replication and spread in many human tumor cells and are therefore attractive candidates for oncolytic virotherapy. However, the significant variation in tumor tropism observed for these viruses remains largely unexplained. We report here that LuIII kills BJ-ELR 'stepwise-transformed' human fibroblasts efficiently, while MVM does not. Using viral chimeras, we mapped this property to the LuIII capsid gene, VP2, which is necessary and sufficient to confer the killer phenotype on MVM. LuIII VP2 facilitates a post-entry, pre-DNA-amplification step early in the life cycle, suggesting the existence of an intracellular moiety whose efficient interaction with the incoming capsid shell is critical to infection. Thus targeting of human cancers of different tissue-type origins will require use of parvoviruses with capsids that effectively make this critical interaction.

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