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Virus-like particle-induced fusion from without in tissue culture cells: role of outer-layer proteins VP4 and VP7.

By J M Gilbert and H B Greenberg


We recently described an assay that measures fusion from without induced in tissue culture cells by rotavirus, a nonenveloped, triple-protein-layered member of the Reoviridae family (M. M. Falconer, J. M. Gilbert, A. M. Roper, H. B. Greenberg, and J. S. Gavora, J. Virol. 69:5582-5591, 1995). The conditions required for syncytium formation are similar to those for viral penetration of the plasma membrane during the course of viral infection of host cells, as the presence of the outer-layer proteins VP4 and VP7 and the cleavage of VP4 are required. Here we present evidence that virus-like particles (VLPs) produced in Spodoptera frugiperda Sf-9 cells from recombinant baculoviruses expressing the four structural proteins of rotavirus can induce cell-cell fusion to the same extent as native rotavirus. This VLP-mediated fusion activity was dependent on trypsinization of VP4, and the strain-specific phenotype of individual VP4 molecules was retained in the syncytium assay similar to what has been seen with reassortant rotaviruses. We show that intact rotavirus and VLPs induce syncytia with cells that are permissive to rotavirus infection whereas nonpermissive cells are refractory to syncytium formation. This finding further supports our hypothesis that the syncytium assay accurately reflects very early events involved in viral infection and specifically the events related to viral entry into the cell. Our results also demonstrate that neither viral replication nor rotavirus proteins other than VP2, VP6, VP4, and VP7 are required for fusion and that both VP4 and VP7 are essential. The combination of a cell-cell fusion assay and the availability of recombinant VLPs will permit us to dissect the mechanisms of rotavirus penetration into host cells

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1997
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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