Searching for the initiating site of the major capsid protein to generate virus-like particles for a novel laboratory mouse papillomavirus.

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Exp Mol Pathol 2014 Apr; 96(2):155-161.




Correctly folded virus-like particles (VLPs) of papillomavirus (PV) display conformationally dependent epitopes that are type specific, maintained on authentic virions, and induce neutralizing antibodies. Alignment of the L1 amino acid (aa) sequences of 84 PVs revealed that the lengths of their N-termini are diverse and that multiple, possible initiation methionine (met) codons exist. The L1 gene of MusPV (MmuPV1), that naturally infects immunodeficient laboratory mouse strain (NMRI-Foxn1(nu)/Foxn1(nu)), has four met codons at the 1st, 2nd, 28th, and 30th aas from its N-terminus. Of these, the 3rd and 4th mets, that are at the 28th and 30th aa position from the N-termius, respectively, are located at the position where most PVs have their first met. These two mets, located at the 9th and 11th from the YLPP conserved aas of most PVs, should be considered as consensus initiation codons of PV L1s. Three L1 proteins of MusPV, starting from the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th mets, were expressed using a baculovirus expression system and characterized for their ability to self-assemble into VLPs. While MusPV L1 proteins starting from the 2nd met expressed an L1 protein that did not fold into VLPs, the L1s starting from the 3rd and 4th mets generated correct VLPs in abundant quantities. We now conclude that the highest quantity and best quality VLPs are made from the consensus L1 met of MusPV. Exp Mol Pathol 2014 Jan 2; 96(2):155-161.