Conserved glycine residues in the fusion peptide of the paramyxovirus fusion protein regulate activation of the native state

Charles J. Russell, Theodore S. Jardetzky, Robert A. Lamb*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Hydrophobic fusion peptides (FPs) are the most highly conserved regions of class I viral fusion-mediating glycoproteins (vFGPs). FPs often contain conserved glycine residues thought to be critical for forming structures that destabilize target membranes. Unexpectedly, a mutation of glycine residues in the FP of the fusion (F) protein from the paramyxovirus simian parainfluenza virus 5 (SV5) resulted in mutant F proteins with hyperactive fusion phenotypes (C. M. Horvath and R. A. Lamb, J. Virol. 66:2-143-2455, 1992). Here, we constructed G3A and G7A mutations into the F proteins of SV5 (W3A and WR isolates), Newcastle disease virus (NDV), and human parainfluenza virus type 3 (HPIV3). All of the mutant F proteins, except NDV G7A, caused increased cell-cell fusion despite having slight to moderate reductions in cell surface expression compared to those of wild-type F proteins. The G3A and G7A mutations cause SVS WR F, but not NDV F or HPIV3 F, to be triggered to cause fusion in the absence of coexpression of its homotypic receptor-binding protein hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN), suggesting that NDV and HPIV3 F have stricter requirements for homotypic HN for fusion activation. Dye transfer assays show that the G3A and G7A mutations decrease the energy required to activate F at a step in the fusion cascade preceding prehairpin intermediate formation and hemifusion. Conserved glycine residues in the FP of paramyxovirus F appear to have a primary role in regulating the activation of the metastable native form of F. Glycine residues in the FPs of other class I vFGPs may also regulate fusion activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13727-13742
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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