The N-terminal extension of the influenza B virus nucleoprotein is not required for nuclear accumulation or the expression and replication of a model RNA

M P Stevens, W S Barclay

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The nucleoprotein (NP) of influenza B virus is 50 amino acids longer at the N-terminus than influenza A virus NP and lacks homology to the A virus protein over the first 69 residues. We have deleted the N-terminal 51 and 69 residues of the influenza B/Ann Arbor/1/66 virus NP and show that nuclear accumulation of the protein is unaffected. This indicates that the nuclear localization signal is not located at the extreme N terminus, as in influenza A virus NP. To determine if the N-terminal mutants could support the expression and replication of a model influenza B virus RNA, the genes encoding the subunits of the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (PA, PB1, and PB2) were cloned. Coexpression of NP and the P proteins in 293 cells was found to permit the expression and replication of a transfected model RNA based on segment 4 of B/Maryland/59, in which the hemagglutinin-coding region was replaced by a chloramphenicol acetyltransferase gene. The expression and replication of the synthetic RNA were not affected by the replacement of NP with NP mutants lacking the N-terminal 51 or 69 residues, indicating that the N-terminal extension is not required for transcription or replication of the viral RNA. In addition, we report that the influenza B virus NP cannot be functionally replaced by type A virus NP in this system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5307-5312
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1998

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