Amino acid changes in the sindbis virus E2 glycoprotein that increase neurovirulence improve entry into neuroblastoma cells

Pamela C. Tucker, Swu Hua Lee, Nam Bui, Daniel Martinie, Diane E. Griffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Sindbis virus (SV) is an alphavirus that causes encephalitis in mice and results in age-dependent mortality. The outcome is dependent on the virus strain. Residues at 55 and 172 in the E2 glycoprotein determine the neurovirulence for mice of different ages and the efficiency of replication in the nervous system and neuronal cells. To determine the effects of these two residues on the initial steps in replication, we studied viruses with a histidine or glutamine at E2 position 55 and a glycine or an arginine at position 172, E2[H55G172], E2[Q55G172], E2[H55R172], and E2[Q55R172]. The production of virus was detected earlier for viruses with a histidine at E2 position 55 in BHK-21 cells (4 to 6 versus 6 to 8 h) and for E2[H55G172] in N18 cells (6 versus 8 to 10 h). As shown previously, viruses with a glycine at E2 position 172 bound more efficiently to N18 cells and a histidine at E2 position 55 further improved binding only slightly. Viruses with E2[H55] exhibited more rapid internalization and degradation of vital proteins in both BHK-21 and N18 cells. Incubation of E2[H55G172] and E2[Q55G172] at various pHs and temperatures did not reveal differences in virion stability. These data suggest that the amino acids at E2 positions 172 and 55 affect both adsorption and penetration of SV and that these early steps in the replicative pathway contribute to increased neurovirulence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6106-6112
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology

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