|Home | About | Journals | Submit | Contact Us | Français|
The prevailing hypothesis is that the intracellular site of budding of coronaviruses is determined by the localization of its membrane protein M (previously called E1). We tested this by analyzing the site of budding of four different coronaviruses in relation to the intracellular localization of their M proteins. Mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) and infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) grown in Sac(-) cells, and feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV) and transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV) grown in CrFK cells, all budded exclusively into smooth-walled, tubulovesicular membranes located intermediately between the rough endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi complex, identical to the so-called budding compartment previously identified for MHV. Indirect immunofluorescence staining of the infected cells showed that all four M proteins accumulated in a perinuclear region. Immunogold microscopy localized MHV M and IBV M in the budding compartment; in addition, a dense labeling in the Golgi complex occurred, MHV M predominantly in trans-Golgi cisternae and trans-Golgi reticulum and IBV M mainly in the cis and medial Golgi cisternae. The corresponding M proteins of the four viruses, when independently expressed in a recombinant vaccinia virus system, also accumulated in the perinuclear area. Quantitative pulse-chase analysis of metabolically labeled cells showed that in each case the majority of the M glycoproteins carried oligosaccharide side chains with Golgi-specific modifications within 4 h after synthesis. Immunoelectron microscopy localized recombinant MHV M and IBV M to the same membranes as the respective proteins in coronavirus-infected cells, with the same cis-trans distribution over the Golgi complex. Our results demonstrate that some of the M proteins of the four viruses are transported beyond the budding compartment and are differentially retained by intrinsic retention signals; in addition to M, other viral and/or cellular factors are probably required to determine the site of budding.