Free Content Composition and Functions of the Influenza Fusion Peptide

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Abstract:

Fusion of the influenza virus envelope with the endosomal membrane of host cells is mediated by the hemagglutinin glycoprotein (HA). The most conserved region of HA is at the N-terminus of the HA2 subunit, a relatively hydrophobic sequence of amino acids referred to as the fusion peptide. This domain is critical both for setting the trigger for fusion and for destabilizing target membranes during the fusion process. The “trigger” is set by cleavage of the HA precursor polypeptide, when the newly-generated HA2 N-terminal fusion peptide positions itself into the trimer interior and makes contacts with ionizable residues to generate a fusion competent neutral pH structure. This essentially “primes” the HA such that subsequent acidification of the endosomal environment can induce the irreversible conformational changes that result in membrane fusion. A key component of these acid-induced structural rearrangements involves the extrusion of the fusion peptide from its buried position and its relocation to interact with the target membrane. The role of the fusion peptide for both priming the neutral pH structure and interacting with cellular membranes during the fusion process is discussed.





Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/092986609788681715

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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  • Protein & Peptide Letters publishes short papers in all important aspects of protein and peptide research, including structural studies, recombinant expression, function, synthesis, enzymology, immunology, molecular modeling, drug design etc. Manuscripts must have a significant element of novelty, timeliness and urgency that merit rapid publication. Reports of crystallisation, and preliminary structure determinations of biologically important proteins are acceptable. Purely theoretical papers are also acceptable provided they provide new insight into the principles of protein/peptide structure and function.
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