Identification of the glycosaminoglycan-binding C2 - on the glycoprotein Erns of bovine viral diarrhoea virus by site-directed mutagenesis

Bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) envelope glycoprotein Erns interacts with highly sulphated heparin-like glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) located on the cell surface as an early step in virus infection of cells. Site-directed mutagenesis of recombinant Erns was undertaken and analysis of mutants by heparin-affinity chromatography and cell surface binding showed that a cluster of basic amino acids (480KKLENKSK487) near the C terminus of Erns was essential for binding. Mutants with amino acid substitutions of lysine residues 481 and 485 in Erns reduced the binding of Erns to immobilized heparin and cellular GAGs but retained ribonuclease activity. In contrast to normal Erns, Erns that was unable to bind to cells also failed to inhibit BVDV infection of cells when the cells were pre-incubated with Erns. It is proposed that the cluster of basic residues (480KKLENKSK487) localized at the C-terminal end of Erns constitutes a GAG-binding site.

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