Retention and topology of the bovine viral diarrhea virus glycoprotein E2
Pestiviruses are enveloped viruses that bud intracellularly. They have three envelope glycoproteins, Erns, E1, and E2. E2 is the receptor binding protein and the main target for neutralizing antibodies. Both Erns and E2 are retained intracellularly. Here, E2 of the bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) strain CP7 was used to study the membrane topology and intracellular localization of the protein. E2 is localized in the ER and there was no difference between E2 expressed alone or in the context of the viral polyprotein. The mature E2 protein was found to possess a single span transmembrane anchor. For the mapping of a retention signal CD72-E2 fusion proteins, as well as E2 alone were analysed. This confirmed the importance of the transmembrane domain and arginine 355 for intracellular retention, but also revealed a modulating effect on retention through the cytoplasmic tail of the E2 protein, especially through glutamine 370. Mutants with a strong impact on retention were tested in the viral context and we were able to rescue BVDV with certain mutations that in E2 alone impaired intracellular retention and lead to export of E2 to the cells surface.