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Versatility of the accessory C proteins of Sendai virus: contribution to virus assembly as an additional role.

The P/C mRNA of Sendai virus (SeV) encodes a nested set of accessory proteins, C', C, Y1, and Y2, referred to collectively as C proteins, using the +1 frame relative to the open reading frame of phospho (P) protein and initiation codons at different positions. The C proteins appear to be basically nonstructural proteins as they are found abundantly in infected cells but greatly underrepresented in the virions. We previously created a 4C(-) SeV, which expresses none of the four C proteins, and concluded that the C proteins are categorically nonessential gene products but greatly contribute to viral full replication and infectivity (A. Kurotani et al., Genes Cells 3:111-124, 1998). Here, we further characterized the 4C(-) virus multiplication in cultured cells. The viral protein and mRNA synthesis was enhanced with the mutant virus relative to the parental wild-type (WT) SeV. However, the viral yields were greatly reduced. In addition, the 4C(-) virions appeared to be highly anomalous in size, shape, and sedimentation profile in a sucrose gradient and exhibited the ratios of infectivity to hemagglutination units significantly lower than those of the WT. In the WT infected cells, C proteins appeared to colocalize almost perfectly with the matrix ( M) proteins, pretty well with an external envelope glycoprotein ( hemagglutinin-neuraminidase [ HN]), and very poorly with the internal P protein. In the absence of C proteins, there was a significant delay of the incorporation of M protein and both of the envelope proteins, HN and fusion (F) proteins, into progeny virions. These results strongly suggest that the accessory and basically nonstructural C proteins are critically required in the SeV assembly process. This role of C proteins was further found to be independent of their recently discovered function to counteract the antiviral action of interferon-alpha/beta. SeV C proteins thus appear to be quite versatile.[1]


  1. Versatility of the accessory C proteins of Sendai virus: contribution to virus assembly as an additional role. Hasan, M.K., Kato, A., Muranaka, M., Yamaguchi, R., Sakai, Y., Hatano, I., Tashiro, M., Nagai, Y. J. Virol. (2000) [Pubmed]
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