Release of coronavirus E protein in membrane vesicles from virus-infected cells and E protein-expressing cells

Virology. 1999 Oct 25;263(2):265-72. doi: 10.1006/viro.1999.9955.


Coronavirus E protein is a small viral envelope protein that plays an essential role in coronavirus assembly; coexpression of coronavirus M and E proteins results in the production of virus-like particles. The present study demonstrated that mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) E protein was released as an integral membrane protein in lipid vesicles from E-protein-expressing mammalian cells, in the absence of other MHV proteins. Furthermore, our data indicated that the E-protein-containing vesicles, which had a slightly lighter buoyant density than that of MHV, were released from MHV-infected cells. These data implied that E protein alone can drive the production and release of coronavirus envelope in the absence of M protein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Centrifugation, Density Gradient
  • Cricetinae
  • Exocytosis*
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Murine hepatitis virus / genetics
  • Murine hepatitis virus / metabolism*
  • Radioimmunoprecipitation Assay
  • Transfection
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / metabolism*
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / metabolism


  • M protein, Coronavirus
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • Viral Matrix Proteins