Actin- and myosin-driven movement of viruses along filopodia precedes their entry into cells
Entry of ecotropic murine leukemia virus (MuLV) into host cells is initiated by interaction between the receptor-binding domain of the viral SU protein and the third extracellular domain (TED) of the receptor, cationic amino acid transporter 1 (CAT1). To study the molecular basis for the retrovirus-receptor interaction, mouse CAT1 (mCAT1) was expressed in human 293 cells as a fusion protein with jellyfish green fluorescent protein (GFP). Easily detected by fluorescence microscopy and immunoblot analysis with anti-GFP antibodies, the mCAT1-GFP fusion protein was expressed in an N-glycosylated form on the cell surface and in the Golgi apparatus, retaining the ecotropic receptor function. The system was applied to compare Friend MuLV (F-MuLV) and its neuropathogenic variant, PVC-211 MuLV, which exhibits a unique cellular tropism and host range, for the ability to use various CAT family members as a receptor. The results indicated that F-MuLV and PVC-211 MuLV could infect the cells expressing wild-type mCAT1 at comparable efficiencies and that rat CAT3, but not mCAT2, conferred a low but detectable level of susceptibility to F-MuLV and PVC-211 MuLV. The data also suggested that CAT proteins might be expressed in an oligomeric form. Further application of the system developed in this study may provide useful insights into the entry mechanism of ecotropic MuLV.