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A matrix-less measles virus is infectious and elicits extensive cell fusion: consequences for propagation in the brain.


Cathomen, T; Mrkic, B; Spehner, D; Drillien, R; Naef, R; Pavlovic, J; Aguzzi, A; Billeter, M A; Cattaneo, R (1998). A matrix-less measles virus is infectious and elicits extensive cell fusion: consequences for propagation in the brain. The EMBO Journal, 17(14):3899-3908.

Abstract

Measles viruses (MV) can be isolated from the brains of deceased subacute sclerosing panencephalitis patients only in a cell-associated form. These viruses are often defective in the matrix (M) protein and always seem to have an altered fusion protein cytoplasmic tail. We reconstituted a cell-free, infectious M-less MV (MV-DeltaM) from cDNA. In comparison with standard MV, MV-DeltaM was considerably more efficient at inducing cell-to-cell fusion but virus titres were reduced approximately 250-fold. In MV-DeltaM-induced syncytia the ribonucleocapsids and glycoproteins largely lost co-localization, confirming the role of M protein as the virus assembly organizer. Genetically modified mice were inoculated with MV-DeltaM or with another highly fusogenic virus bearing glycoproteins with shortened cytoplasmic tails (MV-Delta(tails)). MV-DeltaM and MV-Delta(tails) lost acute pathogenicity but penetrated more deeply into the brain parenchyma than standard MV. We suggest that enhanced cell fusion may also favour the propagation of mutated, assembly-defective MV in human brains.

Measles viruses (MV) can be isolated from the brains of deceased subacute sclerosing panencephalitis patients only in a cell-associated form. These viruses are often defective in the matrix (M) protein and always seem to have an altered fusion protein cytoplasmic tail. We reconstituted a cell-free, infectious M-less MV (MV-DeltaM) from cDNA. In comparison with standard MV, MV-DeltaM was considerably more efficient at inducing cell-to-cell fusion but virus titres were reduced approximately 250-fold. In MV-DeltaM-induced syncytia the ribonucleocapsids and glycoproteins largely lost co-localization, confirming the role of M protein as the virus assembly organizer. Genetically modified mice were inoculated with MV-DeltaM or with another highly fusogenic virus bearing glycoproteins with shortened cytoplasmic tails (MV-Delta(tails)). MV-DeltaM and MV-Delta(tails) lost acute pathogenicity but penetrated more deeply into the brain parenchyma than standard MV. We suggest that enhanced cell fusion may also favour the propagation of mutated, assembly-defective MV in human brains.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Institute of Neuropathology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:15 July 1998
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:25
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:20
Publisher:European Molecular Biology Organization ; Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:0261-4189
Publisher DOI:10.1093/emboj/17.14.3899
PubMed ID:9670007
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-1828

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