Proteolysis, a Determinant for Virus Pathogenicity
Pathogenicity, i.e., the ability of a virus to induce disease in the infected organism, is the result of a complex interplay of a multitude of factors that are determined by the biological, biochemical, and genetic characteristics of the virus on the one hand, and the reactivity of the host on the other. Thus, a molecular basis for viral pathogenicity is not easy to define. It is reasonable, however, to assume that clinical disease becomes manifest, if cells of vital function are altered or killed by the infecting virus. Since the tropism of a virus for a host cell represents primarily an interaction between the surface components of the virus and receptors of the host cell, it is appealing to postulate that surface structures of a virus might determine pathogenicity. This concept is supported by recent results obtained with myxoviruses. It will be shown that the surface glycoproteins of these viruses acquire biological activity through proteolytic cleavage and that this activation is of high importance for pathogenicity.
KeywordsInfluenza Virus Chick Embryo Newcastle Disease Virus Proteolytic Cleavage Pathogenic Strain
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