Role of mutations in the phosphoprotein on RNA polymerase activity of canine distemper virus following cell culture adaptation


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PhD thesis: a PhD thesis.
Role of mutations in the phosphoprotein on RNA polymerase activity of canine distemper virus following cell culture adaptation
Zweifel C.
Wittek R.
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Université de Lausanne, Faculté de biologie et médecine
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REROID:R003740746; 30 cm ill; Rue du Bugnon 21, 1005 Lausanne
The canine distemper virus A75/17 wild-type strain, which is unable to replicate in cell lines, was adapted to growth in Vero cells. Sequence comparison between the A75/17 and the Vero cell-adapted A75/17-V virus revealed 7 amino acid differences between the 2 viruses. Three of these were located in the matrix protein, three in the phosphoprotein also changing the V protein but not the C protein and one in the large protein. The phosphoprotein and the large protein constituted the viral RNA polymerase whose activity was studied by transfection experiments using a reverse genetic system with a plasmid encoding a minireplicon and expression plasmids encoding the nucleocapsid protein and the viral RNA polymerase subunits. Surprinsingly, the enzyme of A75/17 CDV was significantly more active in cell lines compared to the polymerase of A75/17-V CDV. The decrease in overall enzyme activity was found to be due to both decreased replication and transcription activity. This polymerase attenuation was confirmed in CHO cells infection stably expressing the dog SLAM receptor mainly found in dog's lymphoid organs and allowing both virus strains to enter these cells at the same efficiency. A75/17-V CDV replicated more slowly in CHODogSLAM cells than A75/17 CDV and syncytium formation was significantly decreased compared to A75/17 infected CHODogSLAM cells.. Cell culture adaptation lead to an attenuated virus strain both in vitro and in vivo with decreased polymerase activity and syncytium forming capability showing an important role of the polymerase in determining the phenoytpe of the virus. In addition, this reduced phenotype of A75/17-V CDV was shown to be due to the P mutations in the P protein only, showing an important function of the polycistronic P gene in the adaptation process.
The role of the matrix protein was found not to have any effect on polymerase activity, however its participation in the adaptation process still needs to be elucidated.
The accessory proteins V and C were shown to act on polymerase activity, but their functions in virus pathogenicity and in inhibiting the interferon system have not been studied in this thesis. The V proteins have an activating effect on the polymerase of both the A75/17 and the A75/17-V CDV strains.
Although the C protein amino acid sequence was not changed during adaptation of wild-type canine distemper virus in Vero cells, the C protein was demonstrated to have opposite effects on polymerase activity of both virus strains suggesting a different interaction of the C protein with the proteins forming the polymerase complex, which could modulate polymeras activity. These effects were demonstrated by transfection experiments and studying recombinant viruses not expressing the C protein. Thus, the abrogation of the C protein decrease the activity of the wild-type polymerase. In contrast, the polymerase activity of the Vero cell- adapted virus is enhanced in the absence of the C protein and this has also been demonstrated with a recombinant virus, which grew faster in the first 48 hours of infection.
Future studies will focus on the generation of recombinant wild-type viruses, which should be very helpful in understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the adaptation process and the loss of pathogenicity.
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09/12/2009 11:48
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05/06/2020 6:20
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