The influenza A virus M2 protein has important roles during virus entry and in the assembly of infectious virus particles. The cytoplasmic tail of the protein can be palmitoylated at a cysteine residue, but this residue is not conserved in a number of human influenza A virus isolates. Recombinant viruses encoding M2 proteins with a serine substituted for the cysteine at position 50 were generated in the A/WSN/33 (H1N1) and A/Udorn/72 (H3N2) genetic backgrounds. The recombinant viruses were not attenuated for replication in MDCK cells, Calu-3 cells, or in primary differentiated murine trachea epithelial cell cultures, indicating there was no significant contribution of M2 palmitoylation to virus replication in vitro. The A/WSN/33 M2C50S virus displayed a slightly reduced virulence after infection of mice, suggesting that there may be novel functions for M2 palmitoylation during in vivo infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science