The formation of the mature carboxyl terminus of CA in avian sarcoma/leukemia virus is the result of a sequence of cleavage events at three PR sites that lie between CA and NC in the Gag polyprotein. The initial cleavage forms the amino terminus of the NC protein and releases an immature CA, named CA1, with a spacer peptide at its carboxyl terminus. Cleavage of either 9 or 12 amino acids from the carboxyl terminus creates two mature CA species, named CA2 and CA3, that can be detected in avian sarcoma/leukemia virus (R. B. Pepinsky, I. A. Papayannopoulos, E. P. Chow, N. K. Krishna, R. C. Craven, and V. M. Vogt, J. Virol. 69:6430-6438, 1995). To study the importance of each of the three CA proteins, we introduced amino acid substitutions into each CA cleavage junction and studied their effects on CA processing as well as virus assembly and infectivity. Preventing cleavage at any of the three sites produced noninfectious virus. In contrast, a mutant in which cleavage at site 1 was enhanced so that particles contained CA2 and CA3 but little detectable CA1 was infectious. These results support the idea that infectivity of the virus is closely linked to proper processing of the carboxyl terminus to form two mature CA proteins.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science