Viral Glycoproteins as Determinants of Pathogenicity
Many viruses possess a lipid-containing envelope which is a simple biological membrane surrounding the viral genome and accessory proteins. Among the general features of membrane structure shared by all of these viruses are glycoproteins that span the lipid bilayer and usually appear as protrusions or spikes at the surface of the virus particles. Viral glycoproteins have found wide interest as models for structure and biosynthesis of membrane proteins. Moreover, they are the major targets for the humoral and cellular immune response against the virus. This chapter will deal with another important aspect of these glycoproteins, namely their key role in virus entry into the host cell and their significance as determinants of virus pathogenicity. Our knowledge on the role of viral glycoproteins as initiatiors of infection and determinants of pathogenicity has been derived mainly from studies on ortho-and paramyxoviruses. We will therefore concentrate here on these viruses, but we will also present evidence that similar concepts may also be relevant for other viruses.
KeywordsInfluenza Virus Cleavage Site Newcastle Disease Virus Avian Influenza Virus Viral Glycoprotein
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