During vaccinia virus (VV) morphogenesis intracellular mature virus (IMV) is wrapped by two additional membranes to form intracellular enveloped virus (IEV). IEV particles can nucleate the formation of actin tails which aid movement of IEVs to the cell surface where the outer IEV membrane fuses with the plasma membrane forming cell-associated enveloped virus (CEV) which remains attached to the cell, or extracellular enveloped virus (EEV) which is shed from the cell. In this report, we have used a collection of VV mutants lacking individual EEV-specific proteins to compare the roles of these proteins in the formation of IEV and IEV-associated actin tails and fusion of infected cells after a low pH shock. Data presented here show that p45-50 (A36R) is not required for IEV formation or for acid-induced cell-cell fusion, but is required for formation of IEV-associated actin tails. In contrast, gp86 (A56R), the virus haemagglutinin, is not required for formation of either IEV or IEV-associated actin tails. Data presented also confirm that p37 (gene F13L), gp42 (B5R) and gp22-24 (A34R) are needed for formation of IEV-associated actin tails and for cell-cell fusion after low pH shock. The phenotypes of these mutants were not affected by the host cell type as similar results were obtained in a range of different cells. Lastly, comparisons of the phenotypes of VV strains Western Reserve, deltaA34R and deltaA36R demonstrate that actin tails are not required for low pH-induced cell-cell fusion.


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