Identification of novel functional regions within the spike glycoprotein of MHV-A59 based on a bioinformatics approach.
Additional Document Info
Mouse Hepatitis Virus (MHV) is a single-stranded positive sense RNA virus with the ability to promote acute and chronic diseases in mice. The MHV spike protein (S) is a major virulence determinant which in addition to binding to cellular receptors to mediate cell entry and facilitate virus spread to adjacent cells by cell-cell fusion, also is a molecular mimic of the FcRII receptor. This molecular mimicry of FcRII by the MHV S protein is also exhibited by other lineage 2a betacoronaviruses, with the exception of the human coronavirus HCoV-OC43. In this work we undertook a mutational analysis to attempt to identify specific amino acid sequences within the spike glycoprotein crucial for molecular mimicry of FcRII. Although we were unsuccessful in isolating mutant viruses which were specifically defective in that property, we identified several mutations with interesting phenotypes. Mutation of the cysteine in position 547 to alanine and alanine replacements at residues 581-586 was lethal. Replacing proline 939 with the corresponding HCoV-OC43 residue, leucine, decreased the ability MHV to induce cell-cell fusion, providing experimental support for an earlier proposal that residues 929-944 make up the fusion peptide of the MHV S protein.