Bovine enterovirus (BEV), along with other enteroviruses and the rhinoviruses, has a hydrophobic pocket within structural protein VP1. In the crystal structures of these viruses there is electron density commensurate with a non-protein molecule within the pocket. These molecules, termed pocket factors, have been shown to stabilise the capsid and their removal from the pocket is a necessary prerequisite to uncoating. The pocket factors have been proposed, from the electron densities and uncoating studies, to be short chain fatty acids. In order to identify the pocket factor of BEV, we have grown and purified the virus in an identical manner to that used for the crystal structure determination and have performed a lipophilic extraction. Palmitic acid, C16:0, was the most abundant accounting for 40.8% by mass of the lipophilic extract (39.3 mol%). Myristic acid C14:0, was next most abundant at 18.5% by mass (20.0 mol%). In addition, we have identified other fatty acids in smaller proportions. We have therefore shown that BEV contains saturated fatty acid pocket factors of varying chain length. We have also compared the profile of the fatty acyl chain composition of BEV with those for uninfected BHK-21 cell plasma membrane and endoplasmic reticulum extracts.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.