Matrix protein of rabies virus is responsible for the assembly and budding of bullet-shaped particles and interacts with the transmembrane spike glycoprotein G

Mebatsion, T.; Weiland, Frank GND; Conzelmann, Karl Klaus GND

To elucidate the functions of rhabdovirus matrix (M) protein, we determined the localization of M in rabies virus (RV) and analyzed the properties of an M-deficient RV mutant. We provide evidence that M completely covers the ribonucleoprotein (RNP) coil and keeps it in a condensed form. As determined by cosedimentation experiments, not only the M-RNP complex but also M alone was found to interact specifically with the glycoprotein G, In contrast, an interaction of G with the nucleoprotein N or M-less RNP was not observed. In the absence of hi, infectious particles were mainly cell associated and the yield of cell-free infectious virus was reduced by as much as 500,000-fold, demonstrating the crucial role of M in virus budding. Supernatants from cells infected with the M-deficient RV did not contain the typical bullet-shaped rhabdovirus particles but instead contained long, rod-shaped virions, demonstrating severe impairment of the virus formation process. Complementation with M protein expressed from plasmids rescued rhabdovirus formation. These results demonstrate the pivotal role of M protein in condensing and targeting the RNP to the plasma membrane as well as in incorporation of G protein into budding virions

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Mebatsion, T. / Weiland, Frank / Conzelmann, Karl Klaus: Matrix protein of rabies virus is responsible for the assembly and budding of bullet-shaped particles and interacts with the transmembrane spike glycoprotein G. 1999.

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