Identification of Positively Charged Residues in Enterovirus 71 Capsid Protein VP1 Essential for Production of Infectious Particles

  • Yuan S
  • Li G
  • Wang Y
 et al. 
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Enterovirus 71 (EV71), a positive-stranded RNA virus, is the major cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) in children, which can cause severe central nervous system disease and death. The capsids of EV71 consist of 60 copies of each of four viral structural proteins (VP1 to VP4), with VP1, VP2, and VP3 exposed on the surface and VP4 arranged internally. VP1 plays a central role in particle assembly and cell entry. To gain insight into the role of positively charged residues in VP1 function in these processes, a charged-to-alanine scanning analysis was performed using an infectious cDNA clone of EV71. Twenty-seven mutants containing single charged-to-alanine changes were tested. Sixteen of them were not viable, seven mutants were replication defective, and the remaining four mutants were replication competent. By selecting revertants, second-site mutations which could at least partially restore viral infectivity were identified within VP1 for four defective mutations and two lethal mutations. The resulting residue pairs represent a network of intra- and intermolecular interactions of the VP1 protein which could serve as a potential novel drug target. Interestingly, mutation K215A in the VP1 GH loop led to a significant increase in thermal stability, demonstrating that conditional thermostable mutants can be generated by altering the charge characteristics of VP1. Moreover, all mutants were sensitive to the EV71 entry inhibitor suramin, which binds to the virus particle via the negatively charged naphthalenetrisulfonic acid group, suggesting that single charged-to-alanine mutation is not sufficient for suramin resistance. Taken together, these data highlight the importance of positively charged residues in VP1 for production of infectious particles.

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  • Shilin Yuan

  • Guiming Li

  • Ying Wang

  • Qianqian Gao

  • Yizhuo Wang

  • Rui Cui

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