Identification of the orthopoxvirus p4c gene, which encodes a structural protein that directs intracellular mature virus particles into A-type inclusions.
The orthopoxvirus gene p4c has been identified in the genome of the vaccinia virus strain Western Reserve. This gene encodes the 58-kDa structural protein P4c present on the surfaces of the intracellular mature virus (IMV) particles. The gene is disrupted in the genome of cowpox virus Brighton Red (BR), demonstrating that although the P4c protein may be advantageous for virus replication in vivo, it is not essential for virus replication in vitro. Complementation and recombination analyses with the p4c gene have shown that the P4c protein is required to direct the IMV into the A-type inclusions (ATIs) produced by cowpox virus BR. The p4c gene is highly conserved among most members of the orthopoxvirus genus, including viruses that produce ATIs, such as cowpox, ectromelia, and raccoonpox viruses, as well as those such as variola, monkeypox, vaccinia, and camelpox viruses, which do not. The conservation of the p4c gene among the orthopoxviruses, irrespective of their capacities to produce ATIs, suggests that the P4c protein provides functions in addition to that of directing IMV into ATIs. These findings, and the presence of the P4c protein in IMV but not extracellular enveloped virus (D. Ulaeto, D. Grosenbach, and D. E. Hruby, J. Virol. 70:3372-3377, 1996), suggest a model in which the P4c protein may play a role in the retrograde movement of IMV particles, thereby contributing to the retention of IMV particles within the cytoplasm and within ATIs when they are present. In this way, the P4c protein may affect both viral morphogenesis and processes of virus dissemination.
McKelvey, TA; Andrews, SC; Miller, SE; Ray, CA; Pickup, DJ
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