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Isolates of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) that elicit a cytotoxic T-lymphocyte response (CTL+) have been compared with isolates that suppress the CTL response (CTL-) in an effort to map this phenotype. A single amino acid change in the glycoprotein of the LCMV Armstrong (ARM) strain is consistently associated with the CTL- trait and the ability of the virus to persist (P+). The CTL+ P- parental strain spontaneously gives rise to CTL- P+ variants within lymphoid tissues of mice persistently infected from birth. To map the structural basis of the phenotype, the complete RNA sequence of LCMV ARM 53b (CTL+) was compared with that of its variant ARM clone 13 (CTL-). Differences in 5 of 10,600 nucleotides were found. Three changes are noted in the large L RNA segment, and two are noted in the small S RNA segment. Only two of the changes distinguishing CTL+ from CTL- isolates affect amino acid coding: lysine to glutamine at amino acid 1079 of the polymerase protein, and phenylalanine to leucine at amino acid 260 of the envelope glycoprotein (GP). We also analyzed two additional CTL- variants and four spontaneous CTL+ revertants. All three CTL- variants differ from the original CTL+ parental strain at GP amino acid 260, indicating that this amino acid change is consistently associated with the CTL- phenotype. By contrast the other four mutations in LCMV are not associated with the CTL- phenotype. Sequence analysis of the coding regions of four CTL+ revertants of ARM clone 13 did not reveal back mutations at the GP 260 locus. This finding indicates that the GP 260 mutation is necessary but not sufficient for a CTL- P+ phenotype and that the reversion to CTL+ P- is likely either due to secondary mutations in other regions of the viral genome or to quasispecies within the revertant population that make significant contributions to the phenotype.

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Virol

Publication Date

04/1991

Volume

65

Pages

1863 - 1869

Keywords

Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Base Sequence, Clone Cells, Cricetinae, Glycoproteins, Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Molecular Sequence Data, Mutation, Phenotype, RNA, Viral, Recurrence, T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic, Viral Envelope Proteins