Activity of the Mason-Pfizer monkey virus fusion protein is modulated by single amino acids in the cytoplasmic tail

Chisu Song, Keith Micoli, Eric Hunter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Mason-Pfizer monkey virus (M-PMV) encodes a transmembrane glycoprotein with a 38-amino-acid-long cytoplasmic tail. After the release of the immature virus, a viral protease-mediated cleavage of the cytoplasmic tail (CT) results in the loss of 17 amino acids from the carboxy terminus and renders the envelope protein fusion competent. To investigate the role of individual amino acid residues in the CT in fusion, a series of mutations was introduced, and the effects of these mutations on glycoprotein biosynthesis and fusion were examined. Most of the alanine-scanning mutations in the CT had little effect on fusion activity. However, four amino acid substitutions (threonine 4, lysine 7, glutamine 9, and isoleucine 10) resulted in substantially increased fusogenicity, while six (leucine 2, phenylalanine 5, isoleucine 13, lysine 16, proline 17, and glycine 31) resulted in much-reduced fusion. Interestingly, the bulk of these mutations are located upstream of the CT cleavage site in a region that has the potential to form a coiled-coil in the Env trimer. Substitutions at glutamine 9 and isoleucine 10 with alanine had the most dramatic positive effect and resulted in the formation of large syncytia. Taken together, these data demonstrate that individual residues within the cytoplasmic domain of M-PMV Env can modulate, in both a positive and negative manner, biological functions that are associated with the extracellular domains of the glycoprotein complex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11569-11579
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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