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Structure of the Immature Dengue Virus at Low pH Primes Proteolytic Maturation

Science  28 Mar 2008:
Vol. 319, Issue 5871, pp. 1834-1837
DOI: 10.1126/science.1153264

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Abstract

Intracellular cleavage of immature flaviviruses is a critical step in assembly that generates the membrane fusion potential of the E glycoprotein. With cryo–electron microscopy we show that the immature dengue particles undergo a reversible conformational change at low pH that renders them accessible to furin cleavage. At a pH of 6.0, the E proteins are arranged in a herringbone pattern with the pr peptides docked onto the fusion loops, a configuration similar to that of the mature virion. After cleavage, the dissociation of pr is pH-dependent, suggesting that in the acidic environment of the trans-Golgi network pr is retained on the virion to prevent membrane fusion. These results suggest a mechanism by which flaviviruses are processed and stabilized in the host cell secretory pathway.

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