Vesicular stomatitis virus glycoprotein mutations that affect membrane fusion activity and abolish virus infectivity
Fredericksen, B.L.; Whitt, M.A.
Journal of Virology 69(3): 1435-1443
ISSN/ISBN: 0022-538X PMID: 7853475 Accession: 009723341
We have introduced amino acid substitutions into two regions of the extracellular domain of the vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) glycoprotein (G protein) and examined the effect of these mutations on protein transport, low-pH-induced stability of G protein oligomers, and membrane fusion activity. We suggested previously that the region between amino acids 118 and 139 may be important for the membrane fusion activity of G protein, on the basis of the characterization of a fusion-defective G protein mutant (M. A. Whitt, P. Zagouras, B. Crise, and J. K. Rose, J. Virol. 64:4907-4913, 1990). It has also been postulated by others that this region as well as the region between amino acids 181 and 212 may constitute putative internal fusion domains of VSV G protein. In this report, we show that three different amino acids substitutions between residues 118 and 139 (G-124 fwdarw E, P-127 fwdarw D, and A-133 fwdarw K) either altered or abolished low-pH-dependent membrane fusion activity. In contrast, substitutions between residues 192 and 212 resulted either in G proteins that had wild-type fusion activity or in mutant proteins in which the mutation prevented transport of G protein to the cell surface. Two of the substitutions between residues 118 and 139 (G-124 fwdarw E and P-127 fwdarw D) resulted in G proteins that were fusion defective at pH 5.7, although syncytia were observed after cells were treated with fusion buffer at pH 5.5, albeit at levels significantly less than that induced by wild-type G protein. Interestingly, when either G-124 fwdarw E or P-127 fwdarw D was incorporated into tsO45 virions, the resulting particles were not infectious, presumably because the viral envelope was not able to fuse with the proper intracellular membrane. These results support the hypothesis that the region between amino acids 118 and 139 is important for the membrane fusion activity of VSV G protein and may constitute an internal fusion domain.