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Coronavirus pseudoparticles formed with recombinant M and E proteins induce alpha interferon synthesis by leukocytes



Coronavirus pseudoparticles formed with recombinant M and E proteins induce alpha interferon synthesis by leukocytes



Journal of Virology 72(11): 8636-8643



Transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV), an enteric coronavirus of swine, is a potent inducer of alpha interferon (IFN-alpha) both in vivo and in vitro. Incubation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells with noninfectious viral material such as inactivated virions or fixed, infected cells leads to early and strong IFN-alpha synthesis. Previous studies have shown that antibodies against the virus membrane glycoprotein M blocked the IFN induction and that two viruses with a mutated protein exhibited a decreased interferogenic activity, thus arguing for a direct involvement of M protein in this phenomenon. In this study, the IFN-alpha-inducing activity of recombinant M protein expressed in the absence or presence of other TGEV structural proteins was examined. Fixed cells coexpressing M together with at least the minor structural protein E were found to induce IFN-alpha almost as efficiently as TGEV-infected cells. Pseudoparticles resembling authentic virions were released in the culture medium of cells coexpressing M and E proteins. The interferogenic activity of purified pseudoparticles was shown to be comparable to that of TGEV virions, thus establishing that neither ribonucleoprotein nor spikes are required for IFN induction. The replacement of the externally exposed, N-terminal domain of M with that of bovine coronavirus (BCV) led to the production of chimeric particles with no major change in interferogenicity, although the structures of the TGEV and BCV ectodomains markedly differ. Moreover, BCV pseudoparticles also exhibited interferogenic activity. Together these observations suggest that the ability of coronavirus particles to induce IFN-alpha is more likely to involve a specific, multimeric structure than a definite sequence motif.

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Accession: 008391187

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PMID: 9765403


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