Endocytosis plays a critical role in proteolytic processing of the Hendra virus fusion protein

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The Hendra virus fusion (F) protein is synthesized as a precursor protein, F0, which is proteolytically processed to the mature form, F 1+F2. Unlike the case for the majority of paramyxovirus F proteins, the processing event is furin independent, does not require the addition of exogenous proteases, is not affected by reductions in intracellular Ca2+, and is strongly affected by conditions that raise the intracellular pH (C. T. Pager, M. A. Wurth, and R. E. Dutch, J. Virol. 78:9154-9163, 2004). The Hendra virus F protein cytoplasmic tail contains a consensus motif for endocytosis, YXXΦ. To analyze the potential role of endocytosis in the processing and membrane fusion promotion of the Hendra virus F protein, mutation of tyrosine 525 to alanine (Hendra virus F Y525A) or phenylalanine (Hendra virus F Y525F) was performed. The rate of endocytosis of Hendra virus F Y525A was significantly reduced compared to that of the wild-type (wt) F protein, confirming the functional importance of the endocytosis motif. An intermediate level of endocytosis was observed for Hendra virus F Y525F. Surprisingly, dramatic reductions in the rate of proteolytic processing were observed for Hendra virus F Y525A, although initial transport to the cell surface was not affected. The levels of surface expression for both Hendra virus F Y525A and Hendra virus F Y525F were higher than that of the wt protein, and these mutants displayed enhanced syncytium formation. These results suggest that endocytosis is critically important for Hendra virus F protein cleavage, representing a new paradigm for proteolytic processing of paramyxovirus F proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12643-12649
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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