Parvovirus capsid structures required for infection: Mutations controlling receptor recognition and protease cleavages

Heather M. Callaway, Kurtis H. Feng, Donald W. Lee, Andrew B. Allison, Melissa Pinard, Robert McKenna, Mavis Agbandje-McKenna, Susan Hafenstein, Colin R. Parrish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Parvovirus capsids are small but complex molecular machines responsible for undertaking many of the steps of cell infection, genome packing, and cell-tocell as well as host-to-host transfer. The details of parvovirus infection of cells are still not fully understood, but the processes must involve small changes in the capsid structure that allow the endocytosed virus to escape from the endosome, pass through the cell cytoplasm, and deliver the single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) genome to the nucleus, where viral replication occurs. Here, we examine capsid substitutions that eliminate canine parvovirus (CPV) infectivity and identify how those mutations changed the capsid structure or altered interactions with the infectious pathway. Amino acid substitutions on the exterior surface of the capsid (Gly299Lys/Ala300Lys) altered the binding of the capsid to transferrin receptor type 1 (TfR), particularly during virus dissociation from the receptor, but still allowed efficient entry into both feline and canine cells without successful infection. These substitutions likely control specific capsid structural changes resulting from TfR binding required for infection. A second set of changes on the interior surface of the capsid reduced viral infectivity by >100-fold and included two cysteine residues and neighboring residues. One of these substitutions, Cys270Ser, modulates a VP2 cleavage event found in ~10% of the capsid proteins that also was shown to alter capsid stability. A neighboring substitution, Pro272Lys, significantly reduced capsid assembly, while a Cys273Ser change appeared to alter capsid transport from the nucleus. These mutants reveal additional structural details that explain cell infection processes of parvovirus capsids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01871-16
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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