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Disulfide bonds in folding and transport of mouse hepatitis coronavirus glycoproteins

Disulfide bonds in folding and transport of mouse hepatitis coronavirus glycoproteins

Journal of Virology 67(12): 7394-7401

We have analyzed the effects of reducing conditions on the folding of the spike (S) protein and on the intracellular transport of the membrane (M) protein of the mouse hepatitis coronavirus. These proteins differ in their potential to form disulfide bonds in the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Intrachain disulfide bonds are formed in the S protein but not in M, which was demonstrated in a pulse-chase experiment by analyzing the viral proteins under nonreducing conditions. To reduce disulfide bonds in vivo, we added dithiothreitol (DTT) to the culture medium of mouse hepatitis coronavirus-infected cells following a procedure recently described by Braakman et al. (I. Braakman, J. Helenius, and A. Helenius, EMBO J. 11: 1717-1722, 1992). Short exposure to DTT resulted in the complete reduction of newly synthesized S protein and affected its conformation as judged by the change in mobility in nonreducing gels and by the loss of recognition by a conformation-specific monoclonal antibody. Using this antibody in an immunofluorescence assay, we monitored the reducing effect of DTT in situ. DTT was found to initially affect only the S protein present in the ER; also, after longer treatment, the remaining signal also gradually disappeared. In contrast, folding and transport of the M protein were not inhibited by DTT. Under reducing conditions, M was transported efficiently to the trans side of the Golgi complex, indicating that cellular processes such as ER-to-Golgi transport, O-glycosylation, and Golgi retention were unaffected. In the presence of DTT, the M protein even moved at an increased rate to the Golgi complex, which is probably because of its failure to interact with unfolded S protein. The effects of in vivo reduction were reversible. When DTT was removed from pulse-labeled cells, the S protein folded posttranslationally and aberrantly; during its oxidation, most of S now transiently aggregated into large disulfide-linked complexes from which subsequently folded S molecules dissociated.

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Accession: 008493404

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PMID: 8230460

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