The ion channel activity of the influenza virus M2 protein affects transport through the Golgi apparatus.
The hemagglutinin of influenza virus is synthesized as a monomeric subunit that is cotranslationally translocated across the membrane of the rough endoplasmic reticulum. We show that folding and assembly of hemagglutinin monomers into trimeric structures takes approximately 7-10 min and is completed before the protein leaves the endoplasmic reticulum. Mutants of hemagglutinin that fail to be transported from the endoplasmic reticulum are blocked at different stages of the folding pathway. Unfolded molecules of hemagglutinin are associated with a cellular protein of 77 kd that has been shown previously to bind to IgG heavy chain in the endoplasmic reticulum of certain myelomas. We discuss why assembly of native structures is required for transport of proteins through the exocytotic pathway.