Sequences encoding the surface projection glycoprotein of the coronavirus, murine hepatitis virus (MHV), strain JHM, have been cloned into pAT153 using cDNA produced by priming with specific oligonucleotides on infected cell RNA. The regions of three clones pJMS1010, pJS112 and pJS92, which together encompass the surface protein gene have been sequenced by the chain termination method. The sequence of the primary translation product, deduced from the DNA sequence, predicts a polypeptide of 1235 amino acids with a molecular weight of 136 600. This polypeptide displays the features characteristic of a group 1 membrane protein; an amino-terminal signal sequence and carboxy-terminal membrane and cytoplasmic domains. There are 21 potential glycosylation sites in the polypeptide and a cysteine-rich region in the vicinity of the transmembrane domain. During maturation proteolytic processing of the polypeptide occurs and at positions 624 to 628 the sequence Arg-Arg-Ala-Arg-Arg is found, which is similar to a number of basic sequences involved in the cleavage of enveloped RNA virus glycoproteins. The fusogenic properties of the MHV surface protein do not appear to correlate with a strongly hydrophobic region at the putative amino terminus of the carboxy-terminal cleavage product.


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