BioScience Trends. 2015;9(1):56-64. (DOI: 10.5582/ bst.2014.01140)

Roles of the highly conserved amino acids in the globular head and stalk region of the Newcastle disease virus HN protein in the membrane fusion process.

Sun CX, Wen HL, Chen YZ, Chu FL, Lin B, Ren GJ, Song YY, Wang ZY


Newcastle disease virus (NDV), an avain paramyxovirus, has been assigned to the genus Avulavirus within the family Paramyxoviridae. It causes Newcastle disease (ND) that is a highly contagious and fatal viral disease affecting poultry and most species of birds. The hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) protein of NDV has multiple functions including mediating hemadsorption (HAD), neuraminidase (NA), and fusion promotion activities affecting the process of viral attachment, entry, replication and dissemination. Fusion ability of the NDV was highly correlated to its virulence. Mutations in the HN globular head and headless HN of NDV were constructed to determinate the impact of highly conserved amino acids in the globular head of paramyxovirus HN proteins and the roles of the stalk region of HN in the fusion process. It was found that the interaction between F and HN mutants E401A, G402A, G468A, V469A, Y526A, and T527A was equal to that in F and wt HN. The mutations of G402A, G468A, V469A, and T527A had various effects on cell fusion promotion, receptor binding ability, and NA activity, but the membrane merging rate was comparable to wt HN. The elimination of hemadsorption ability and NA activity of E401A and Y526A resulted in the loss of the fusion promotion function of HN. The conclusion was that receptor binding and NA had a common active site and E401 and Y526 amino acids were essential for virus attachment, entry, and dissemination. In addition, G468A mutation made different contributions to HAD and NA, which indicated that G468 was one of the potential key amino acids in switching the two functions between receptor binding and sialic acid destruction of HN. It was also proven that the headless HN of NDV could promote the fusion event mediated by F. Thus, it revealed a novel mechanism in F activation of NDV.

KEYWORDS: NDV, HN protein, Fusion promotion, HN-F interaction

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