Virologica Sinica

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 262–269 | Cite as

The Saffold Virus-Penang 2B and 3C Proteins, but not the L Protein, Induce Apoptosis in HEp-2 and Vero Cells

  • Yishi Xu
  • Carla Bianca Luena Victorio
  • Tao Meng
  • Qiang Jia
  • Yee-Joo TanEmail author
  • Kaw Bing ChuaEmail author
Research Article


Our previous work has shown that Saffold virus (SAFV) induced several rodent and primate cell lines to undergo apoptosis (Xu et al. in Emerg Microb Infect 3:1–8, 2014), but the essential viral proteins of SAFV involved in apoptotic activity lack study. In this study, we individually transfected the viral proteins of SAFV into HEp-2 and Vero cells to assess their ability to induce apoptosis, and found that the 2B and 3C proteins are proapoptotic. Further investigation indicated the transmembrane domain of the 2B protein is essential for the apoptotic activity and tetramer formation of the 2B protein. Our research provides clues for the possible mechanisms of apoptosis induced by SAFV in different cell lines. It also opens up new directions to study viral proteins (the 2B, 3C protein), and sets the stage for future exploration of any possible link between SAFV, inclusive of its related uncultivable genotypes, and multiple sclerosis.


Saffold virus (SAFV) Apoptosis Viral proteins 



This research was fully funded by Temasek Lifesciences Laboratory, an affiliate of National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and did not receive any specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Author Contributions

YX, CBLV, KBC and TYJ contributed to the acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data besides concept development and design of the work. YX, KBC, TM and QJ were responsible for drafting and revising the manuscript critically for accuracy of the intellectual content. KBC and TYJ approved the written version for publication. YX, TM, QJ, KBC and TYJ are accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

There is no competing interest in this project.

Animal and Human Rights Statement

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Wuhan Institute of Virology, CAS 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, 1 Research LinkNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University Health SystemNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  4. 4.Institute of Molecular and Cell BiologyA*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research)SingaporeSingapore

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