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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Relative affinity of the human parainfluenza virus type 3 hemagglutinin-neuraminidase for sialic acid correlates with virus-induced fusion activity.

The ability of enveloped viruses to cause disease depends on their ability to enter the host cell via membrane fusion events. An understanding of these early events in infection, crucial for the design of methods of blocking infection, is needed for viruses that mediate membrane fusion at neutral pH, such as paramyxoviruses and human immunodeficiency virus. Sialic acid is the receptor for the human parainfluenza virus type 3 (HPF3) hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) glycoprotein, the molecule responsible for binding of the virus to cell surfaces. In order for the fusion protein (F) of HPF3 to promote membrane fusion, the HN must interact with its receptor. In the present report, two variants of HPF3 with increased fusion-promoting phenotypes were selected and used to study the function of the HN glycoprotein in membrane fusion. Increased fusogenicity correlated with single amino acid changes in the HN protein that resulted in increased binding of the variant viruses to the sialic acid receptor. These results suggest that the avidity of binding of the HN protein to its receptor regulates the level of F protein-mediated fusion and begin to define one role of the receptor-binding protein of a paramyxovirus in the membrane fusion process.[1]


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