The amino acid sequence RGD (arginine-glycine-aspartic acid) is highly conserved in the VP1 protein of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV), despite being situated in the immunodominant hypervariable region between amino acids 135 and 160. RGD-containing proteins are known to be important in promoting cell attachment in several different systems, and we report here that synthetic peptides containing this sequence are able to inhibit attachment of the virus to baby hamster kidney (BHK) cells. Inhibition was dose-dependent and could be reversed on removal of the peptide. A synthetic peptide corresponding to a portion of the same hypervariable region but not containing the RGD sequence did not inhibit virus attachment under the same conditions. Antibody against the RGD region of VP1 blocked attachment of the virus to BHK cells, and neutralizing monoclonal antibodies, which neutralize virus by preventing cell attachment, were blocked by RGD-containing peptides from binding virus in an ELISA test. Cleavage of the C-terminal region of virus VP1 with proteolytic enzymes reduced cell attachment, and antiserum against a peptide corresponding to this region was also able to inhibit attachment of virus to BHK cells. These results indicate that the amino acid sequence RGD at positions 145 to 147 and amino acids from the C-terminal region of VP1 (positions 203 to 213) contribute to the cell attachment site on FMDV for BHK cells.

Keyword(s): amino acid sequence , attachment and FMDV

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