Fusogenic Reoviruses and Their Fusion-Associated Small Transmembrane (FAST) Proteins.

Affiliation

Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, and Department of Pediatrics, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3H 4R2; email: [Email]

Abstract

With no limiting membrane surrounding virions, nonenveloped viruses have no need for membrane fusion to gain access to intracellular replication compartments. Consequently, nonenveloped viruses do not encode membrane fusion proteins. The only exception to this dogma is the fusogenic reoviruses that encode fusion-associated small transmembrane (FAST) proteins that induce syncytium formation. FAST proteins are the smallest viral membrane fusion proteins and, unlike their enveloped virus counterparts, are nonstructural proteins that evolved specifically to induce cell-to-cell, not virus-cell, membrane fusion. This distinct evolutionary imperative is reflected in structural and functional features that distinguish this singular family of viral fusogens from all other protein fusogens. These rudimentary fusogens comprise specific combinations of different membrane effector motifs assembled into small, modular membrane fusogens. FAST proteins offer a minimalist model to better understand the ubiquitous process of protein-mediated membrane fusion and to reveal novel mechanisms of nonenveloped virus dissemination that contribute to virulence.

Keywords

cell-cell fusion,fusogenic reoviruses,syncytium formation,viral membrane fusion proteins,viroporins,

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