SARS coronavirus E protein forms cation-selective ion channels

Virology. 2004 Dec 5;330(1):322-31. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2004.09.033.


Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is caused by a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Coronaviruses including SARS-CoV encode an envelope (E) protein, a small, hydrophobic membrane protein. We report that, in planar lipid bilayers, synthetic peptides corresponding to the SARS-CoV E protein forms ion channels that are more permeable to monovalent cations than to monovalent anions. Affinity-purified polyclonal antibodies recognizing the N-terminal 19 residues of SARS-CoV E protein were used to establish the specificity of channel formation by inhibiting the ion currents generated in the presence of the E protein peptides.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Ion Channels / physiology*
  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry
  • SARS Virus / physiology*
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / chemistry
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / physiology*


  • Ion Channels
  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Viral Envelope Proteins