Role of N-linked glycosylation for Sindbis virus infection and replication in vertebrate and invertebrate systems

Ronald L. Knight, Kimberly L.W. Schultz, Rebekah J. Kent, Meera Venkatesan, Diane E. Griffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Each Sindbis virus (SINV) surface glycoprotein has two sites for N-linked glycosylation (E1 positions 139 and 245 [E1-139 and E1-245] and E2 positions 196 and 318 [E2-196 and E2-318]). Studies of SINV strain TE12 mutants with each site eliminated identified the locations of carbohydrates by cryo-electron microscopy (S. V. Pletnev et al., Cell 105:127-136, 2001). In the current study, the effects of altered glycosylation on virion infectivity, growth in cells of vertebrates and invertebrates, heparin binding, virulence in mice, and replication in mosquitoes were assessed. Particle-to-PFU ratios for E1-139 and E2-196 mutant strains were similar to that for TE12, but this ratio for the E1-245 mutant was 100-fold lower than that for TE12. Elimination of either E2 glycosylation site increased virus binding to heparin and increased replication in BHK cells. Elimination of either E1 glycosylation site had no effect on heparin binding but resulted in an approximately 10-fold decrease in virus yield from BHK cells compared to the TE12 amount. No differences in pE2 processing were detected. E2-196 and E2-318 mutants were more virulent in mice after intracerebral inoculation, while E1-139 and E1-245 mutants were less virulent. The E1-245 mutant showed impaired replication in C7/10 mosquito cells and in Culex quinquefasciatus after intrathoracic inoculation. We conclude that the increased replication and virulence of E2-196 and E2-318 mutants are primarily due to increased efficiency of binding to heparan sulfate on mammalian cells. Lack of glycosylation at E1-139 or E1-245 impairs replication in vertebrate cells, while E1-245 also severely affects replication in invertebrate cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5640-5647
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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