Colocalization and membrane association of murine hepatitis virus gene 1 products and de novo-synthesized viral RNA in infected cells

Stephanie T. Shi, Jennifer J. Schiller, Amornrat Kanjanahaluethai, Susan C. Baker, Jong Won Oh, Michael M.C. Lai

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97 Citations (Scopus)


Murine hepatitis virus (MHV) gene 1, the 22-kb polymerase (pol) gene, is first translated into a polyprotein and subsequently processed into multiple proteins by viral autoproteases. Genetic complementation analyses suggest that the majority of the gene 1 products are required for viral RNA synthesis. However, there is no physical evidence supporting the association of any of these products with viral RNA synthesis. We have now performed immunofluorescent-staining studies with four polyclonal antisera to localize various MHV-A59 gene 1 products in virus-infected cells. Immunoprecipitation experiments showed that these antisera detected proteins representing the two papain-like proteases and the 3C-like protease encoded by open reading frame (ORF) 1a, the putative polymerase (p100) and a p35 encoded by ORF 1b, and their precursors. De novo-synthesized viral RNA was labeled with bromouridine triphosphate in lysolecithin-permeabilized MHV-infected cells. Confocal microscopy revealed that all of the viral proteins detected by these antisera colocalized with newly synthesized viral RNA in the cytoplasm, particularly in the perinuclear region of infected cells. Several cysteine and serine protease inhibitors, i.e., E64d, leupeptin, and zinc chloride, inhibited viral RNA synthesis without affecting the localization of viral proteins, suggesting that the processing of the MHV gene 1 polyprotein is tightly associated with viral RNA synthesis. Dual labeling with antibodies specific for cytoplasmic membrane structures showed that MHV gene 1 products and RNA colocalized with the Golgi apparatus in HeLa cells. However, in murine 17CL- 1 cells, the viral proteins and viral RNA did not colocalize with the Golgi apparatus but, instead, partially colocalized with the endoplasmic reticulum. Our results provide clear physical evidence that several MHV gene 1 products, including the proteases and the polymerase, are associated with the viral RNA replication-transcription machinery, which may localize to different membrane structures in different cell lines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5957-5969
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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