The influenza A virus M1 and M2 proteins play important roles in virus assembly and in the morphology of virus particles. Mutations in the distal cytoplasmic tail region of M2, and in particular a tyrosine-to-alanine mutation at residue 76 (Y76A), were essential for infectious virus production and filament formation while having limited effects on total virus particle budding. Using a novel selection method, mutations at seven different M1 amino acids (residue 73, 94, 135, 136, or 138 or a double mutation, 93/244) that are not found in circulating influenza virus strains or have not been previously identified to play a role in influenza A virus assembly were found to complement the lethal M2Y76A mutation. These M1 suppressor mutations restored infectious virus production in the presence of M2Y76A and mediated increased budding and filament formation even in the absence of M2. However, the efficiency of infectious virus replication was still dependent on the presence of the distal region of the M2 cytoplasmic tail. The data suggest that influenza A virus budding and genome incorporation can occur independently and provide further support for complementary roles of the M1 and M2 proteins in virus assembly.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science