Sequential roles of receptor binding and low pH in forming prehairpin and hairpin conformations of a retroviral envelope glycoprotein.

A general model has been proposed for the fusion mechanisms of class I viral fusion proteins. According to this model a metastable trimer, anchored in the viral membrane through its transmembrane domain, transits to a trimeric prehairpin intermediate, anchored at its opposite end in the target membrane through its fusion peptide. A subsequent refolding event creates a trimer of hairpins (often termed a six-helix bundle) in which the previously well-separated transmembrane domain and fusion peptide (and their attached membranes) are brought together, thereby driving membrane fusion. While there is ample biochemical and structural information on the trimer-of-hairpins conformation of class I viral fusion proteins, less is known about intermediate states between native metastable trimers and the final trimer of hairpins. In this study we analyzed conformational states of the transmembrane subunit (TM), the fusion subunit, of the Env glycoprotein of the subtype A avian sarcoma and leukosis virus (ASLV-A). By analyzing forms of EnvA TM on mildly denaturing sodium dodecyl sulfate gels we identified five conformational states of EnvA TM. Following interaction of virions with a soluble form of the ASLV-A receptor at 37 degrees C, the metastable form of EnvA TM (which migrates at 37 kDa) transits to a 70-kDa and then to a 150-kDa species. Following subsequent exposure to a low pH (or an elevated temperature or the fusion promoting agent chlorpromazine), an additional set of bands at >150 kDa, and then a final band at 100 kDa, forms. Both an EnvA C-helix peptide (which inhibits virus fusion and infectivity) and the fusion-inhibitory agent lysophosphatidylcholine inhibit the formation of the >150- and 100-kDa bands. Our data are consistent with the 70- and 150-kDa bands representing precursor and fully formed prehairpin conformations of EnvA TM. Our data are also consistent with the >150-kDa bands representing higher-order oligomers of EnvA TM and with the 100-kDa band representing the fully formed six-helix bundle. In addition to resolving fusion-relevant conformational intermediates of EnvA TM, our data are compatible with a model in which the EnvA protein is activated by its receptor (at neutral pH and a temperature greater than or equal to room temperature) to form prehairpin conformations of EnvA TM, and in which subsequent exposure to a low pH is required to stabilize the final six-helix bundle, which drives a later stage of fusion.
AuthorsShutoku Matsuyama, Sue Ellen Delos, Judith M White
JournalJournal of virology (J Virol) Vol. 78 Issue 15 Pg. 8201-9 (Aug 2004) ISSN: 0022-538X [Print] United States
PMID15254191 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.)
Chemical References
  • Gene Products, env
  • Protein Subunits
  • Receptors, Virus
  • Retroviridae Proteins
  • Gene Products, env (chemistry)
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Membrane Fusion
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Subunits
  • Receptors, Virus (physiology)
  • Retroviridae (physiology)
  • Retroviridae Proteins (chemistry)
  • Temperature

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