1887

Abstract

Since the discovery of a non-virulent infectious salmon anaemia virus (ISAV) HPR0 variant, many studies have speculated on the functional role of deletions within the highly polymorphic region (HPR) of genomic segment 6, which codes for the haemagglutinin–esterase (HE) protein. To address this issue, mutant HE proteins with deletions in their HPR were generated from the Scottish HPR0 template (NWM10) and fusion-inducing activity was measured using lipid (octadecyl rhodamine B) and content mixing assays (firefly luciferase). Segment six HPR was found to have a strong influence on ISAV fusion, and deletions in this near-membrane region predominantly increased the fusion-inducing ability of the resulting HE proteins. The position and length of the HPR deletions were not significant factors, suggesting that they may affect fusion non-specifically. In comparison, the amino acid composition of the associated fusion (F) protein was a more crucial criterion. Antibody co-patching and confocal fluorescence demonstrated that the HE and F proteins were highly co-localized, forming defined clusters on the cell surface post-transfection. The binding of erythrocyte ghosts on the attachment protein caused a reduction in the percentage of co-localization, suggesting that ISAV fusion might be triggered through physical separation of the F and HE proteins. In this process, HPR deletion appeared to modulate and reduce the strength of interaction between the two glycoproteins, causing more F protein to be released and activated. This work provides a first insight into the mechanism of virulence acquisition through HPR deletion, with fusion enhancement acting as a major contributing factor.

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2014-05-01
2021-08-02
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