E2-p7 region of the bovine viral diarrhea virus polyprotein: processing and functional studies

T Harada, N Tautz, H J Thiel


The genes encoding pestivirus E2 and NS2-3 are separated by a sequence that encodes a small hydrophobic polypeptide with an apparent molecular mass of 6 to 7 kDa (p7). It has been shown that cleavage between E2 and p7 is incomplete, resulting in proteins E2-p7, E2, and p7. We found no precursor-product relationship between E2-p7 and E2, which indicates a stable nature of E2-p7. To study the function of the E2-p7 region of the polyprotein, mutations were introduced into an infectious cDNA of bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV). When cleavage between E2 and p7 was abolished, viral RNA replication occurred; however, no infectious virus could be recovered. A corresponding result was obtained with a construct encompassing a large in-frame deletion of p7. To prevent synthesis of E2-p7, a translational stop codon was introduced after the last codon of the E2 gene and an internal ribosome entry site element followed by a signal peptide coding sequence was inserted upstream of the p7 gene. Transfection of RNA transcribed from the bicistronic construct led to the release of infectious virus particles. Thus, synthesis of E2-p7 is not essential for the generation of infectious virions. Cell lines constitutively expressing BVDV p7 and/or E2 were generated for complementation studies. Transfection of BVDV RNAs with point mutations or a deletion in the E2-p7 region into the complementing cell lines led to the generation of infectious virions. According to our studies, p7 as well as E2 can be complemented in trans.

ZeitschriftJournal of Virology
Seiten (von - bis)9498-506
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2000


  • 204-04 Virologie


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