1887

Abstract

Among the least-known hepatitis C virus proteins is the non-structural protein 4B (NS4B). It localizes to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane and induces membrane changes, resulting in a membranous web that is reported to be the locale for virus replication. A model was presented previously for the topology of recombinant HCV NS4B of the 1a genotype based on data. In this model, the N-terminal tail of a considerable fraction of the NS4B molecules was translocated into the ER lumen via a post-translational process, giving the protein a dual transmembrane topology. It is now reported that translocation of the N terminus also occurs for processed NS4B expressed in cells in the context of the polyprotein. In the presence of NS5A, however, a lower degree of translocation was observed, which may indicate that NS5A influences the topology of NS4B. expression studies of NS4B from all major genotypes demonstrated that translocation of the N terminus to the ER lumen is conserved across genotypes. This clearly suggests an important function for this feature. Furthermore, when disrupting a previously reported amphipathic helix (AH) in the N terminus of NS4B, translocation was inhibited. As a disrupted AH also abolished the ability of NS4B to rearrange membranes, these data indicate for the first time an association between translocation of the N terminus and membrane rearrangement. Finally, the present experiments also confirm the predicted location of the first luminal loop to be around aa 112.

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2006-11-01
2021-07-24
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