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SARS-CoV envelope protein palmitoylation or nucleocapid association is not required for promoting virus-like particle production.

Tseng Y.T., Wang S.M., Huang K.J., Wang C.T.

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus membrane (M) proteins are capable of interacting with nucleocapsid (N) and envelope (E) proteins. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) M co-expression with either N or E is sufficient for producing virus-like particles (VLPs), although at a lower level compared to M, N and E co-expression. Whether E can release from cells or E/N interaction exists so as to contribute to enhanced VLP production is unknown. It also remains to be determined whether E palmitoylation or disulfide bond formation plays a role in SARS-CoV virus assembly. RESULTS: SARS-CoV N is released from cells through an association with E protein-containing vesicles. Further analysis suggests that domains involved in E/N interaction are largely located in both carboxyl-terminal regions. Changing all three E cysteine residues to alanines did not exert negative effects on E release, E association with N, or E enhancement of VLP production, suggesting that E palmitoylation modification or disulfide bond formation is not required for SARS-CoV virus assembly. We found that removal of the last E carboxyl-terminal residue markedly affected E release, N association, and VLP incorporation, but did not significantly compromise the contribution of E to efficient VLP production. CONCLUSIONS: The independence of the SARS-CoV E enhancement effect on VLP production from its viral packaging capacity suggests a distinct SARS-CoV E role in virus assembly.

J. Biomed. Sci. 21:34-34(2014) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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