The role of residues in the conserved hydrophobic N-terminal fusion peptide of the paramyxovirus fusion (F) protein in causing cell-cell fusion was examined. Mutations were introduced into the cDNA encoding the simian virus 5 (SV5) F protein, the altered F proteins were expressed by using an eukaryotic vector, and their ability to mediate syncytium formation was determined. The mutant F proteins contained both single- and multiple-amino- acid substitutions, and they exhibited a variety of intracellular transport properties and fusion phenotypes. The data indicate that many substitutions in the conserved amino acids of the simian virus 5 F fusion peptide can be tolerated without loss of biological activity. Mutant F proteins which were not transported to the cell surface did not cause cell-cell fusion, but all of the mutants which were transported to the cell surface were fusion competent, exhibiting fusion properties similar to or better than those of the wild-type F protein. Mutant F proteins containing glycine-to-alanine substitutions had altered intracellular transport characteristics, yet they exhibited a great increase in fusion activity. The potential structural implications of this substitution and the possible importance of these glycine residues in maintaining appropriate levels of fusion activity are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science