Author(s): La Ferla FM, Peluso RW
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Abstract We studied the effect pH had on the N-NS protein complex to determine its role in vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) genome replication, as we had previously shown that VSV genome replication in vitro requires the interaction of the viral N and NS proteins into a 1:1 complex. A previous report showed that the growth of VSV in L cells was sensitive to the pH of the environment (M. Fiszman, J. B. Leaute, C. Chany, and M. Girard, J. Virol. 13:801-808, 1974). We hypothesized that low pH might disrupt the N-NS protein complex, and so we investigated the molecular events leading to inhibition of viral RNA replication in vitro from extracts that were prepared from VSV-infected cells incubated at pH 6.6. We found that viral genome RNA synthesis in vitro was reduced when infected cells were maintained at pH 6.6. Through immunoprecipitation analysis of the viral soluble protein pool, we found that a complex that usually exists between the N and NS proteins at pH 7.4 was altered in extracts from infected cells maintained at pH 6.6, and this was responsible for the observed effects on viral replication. The effect of low pH on the N-NS protein complex could not be abolished by increasing the concentration of the altered complex, indicating that the effects is more than simply a decrease in the level of the protein complex in the cell. Our data provide additional evidence that the 1:1 N-NS protein complex, and not the N protein alone, serves as the substrate for viral RNA replication in vivo.
This article was published in J Virol
and referenced in Biochemistry & Physiology: Open Access