Lateral organization of influenza virus proteins in the budozone region of the plasma membrane

George P. Leser, Robert A. Lamb*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Influenza virus assembles and buds at the plasma membrane of virusinfected cells. The viral proteins assemble at the same site on the plasma membrane for budding to occur. This involves a complex web of interactions among viral proteins. Some proteins, like hemagglutinin (HA), NA, and M2, are integral membrane proteins. M1 is peripherally membrane associated, whereas NP associates with viral RNA to form an RNP complex that associates with the cytoplasmic face of the plasma membrane. Furthermore, HA and NP have been shown to be concentrated in cholesterol-rich membrane raft domains, whereas M2, although containing a cholesterol binding motif, is not raft associated. Here we identify viral proteins in planar sheets of plasma membrane using immunogold staining. The distribution of these proteins was examined individually and pairwise by using the Ripley K function, a type of nearest-neighbor analysis. Individually, HA, NA, M1, M2, and NP were shown to self-associate in or on the plasma membrane. HA and M2 are strongly coclustered in the plasma membrane; however, in the case of NA and M2, clustering depends upon the expression system used. Despite both proteins being raft resident, HA and NA occupy distinct but adjacent membrane domains. M2 and M1 strongly cocluster, but the association of M1 with HA or NA is dependent upon the means of expression. The presence of HA and NP at the site of budding depends upon the coexpression of other viral proteins. Similarly, M2 and NP occupy separate compartments, but an association can be bridged by the coexpression of M1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere02104-16
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • Budozone
  • Immunogold labeling
  • Influenza virus assembly
  • Lateral organization of spikes
  • Protein organization
  • Virus budding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Virology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology


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