Characterization of Attenuated Mutants of MHV3 : Importance of the E2 Protein in Organ Tropism and Infection of Isolated Liver Cells
MHV3 is an hepatotropic Coronavirus. The injection of this virus into susceptible.BALB/c mice causes a mortal fulminating hepatitis. Several viral genes have been implicated as determinants of MHV virulence, including the nucleocapsid (5), E2 (4, 6) and polymerase genes (7). The E2 glycoprotein plays a central role in determining cellular tropism and MHV virulence. It is responsible for the attachment of the virus to the cell and point mutations in the E2 gene could thus modify virus pathogenicity and the target organ. The selection of antibody “escape mutants” has been used by several laboratories to confirm the importance of E2 as a viral determinant of virulence (8). In the case of the MHV3 strain, no results have so far been reported. We have selected MHV3 variants by virtue of their resistance to neutralization by monoclonal antibodies. Two of the mutants selected were less pathogenic than the parental strain. This difference in the biological effect may be associated with a modification in organ tropism and failure to recognize viral receptors on certain hepatic cells.
KeywordsKupffer Cell Viral Receptor Mouse Hepatitis Virus Sinusoidal Cell Isolate Liver Cell
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