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Invasion and Replication Strategies of Pathogenes
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SP B13

Role of nonstructural protein and core protein in morphogenesis of pestiviruses


Prof. Dr. Till Rümenapf

Prof. Dr. H.-J. Thiel
Institut für Virologie, Justus-Liebig-Universität, Gießen



Summary

Role of nonstructural protein and core protein in morphogenesis of pestiviruses

Viral particles of pestiviruses consist of genomic RNA and four proteins, namely the three envelope glycoproteins Erns, E1 and E2 as well as the small core protein. It is assumed that the latter forms, together with the genomic RNA, the nucleocapsid. We have studied the biosynthesis of this protein and thereby identified a complicated maturation pathway which requires activities of the viral autoprotease Npro and two cellular proteases signal peptidase and signal peptide peptidase. Processing steps of the pestiviral core protein and of the core protein of hepatitis C virus (HCV) are overall very similar. Investigations concerning C terminal processing of the core protein of classical swine fever virus (CSFV) surprisingly led to the identification of mutations in a nonstructural protein gene which effectively compensated a core protein defective for formation of infectious virions. Thus our data point towards an unexpected participation of a nonstructural protein in virion morphogenesis. The goal of the project is to determine the significance of the nonstructural protein as well as the function(s) of the core protein for the formation of infectious pestiviral particles.


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