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Keyword - Viral ion channel (KW-1182)

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Small transmembrane protein that homo-oligomerizes to form a viral ion channel usually expressed in the viral envelope and host cell membranes. These channels affect membrane permeability to ions and play an important role in facilitating virus entry, assembly and release, as well as modulating the ion homeostasis of host cells. Viral ion channels are not necessarily required for the production of infectious virions, although their expression usually significantly increases growth. During influenza A virus entry for example, the M2 proton channel allows protons from the acidic endosome to enter the enveloped virion, initiating pH-dependent uncoating of the genome. In certain influenza A subtypes, M2 also equilibrates the intraluminal pH of the trans-Golgi network with the cytoplasm, preventing premature conformational changes in the viral fusion protein during budding.


  • Viroporin


Molecular function

Gene Ontology


ion channel activity [ GO:0005216 ]
pore formation by virus in membrane of host cell [ GO:0039707 ]
integral to membrane of host cell [ GO:0044385 ]
protein complex oligomerization [ GO:0051259 ]


Ion transportIon channelMolecular functionTransportViral ion channelBiological process
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