Chlorella viruses evoke a rapid release of K+ from host cells during the early phase of infection

Virology. 2008 Mar 15;372(2):340-8. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2007.10.024. Epub 2007 Nov 28.


Infection of Chlorella NC64A cells by PBCV-1 produces a rapid depolarization of the host probably by incorporation of a viral-encoded K(+) channel (Kcv) into the host membrane. To examine the effect of an elevated conductance, we monitored the virus-stimulated efflux of K(+) from the chlorella cells. The results indicate that all 8 chlorella viruses tested evoked a host specific K(+) efflux with a concomitant decrease in the intracellular K(+). This K(+) efflux is partially reduced by blockers of the Kcv channel. Qualitatively these results support the hypothesis that depolarization and K(+) efflux are at least partially mediated by Kcv. The virus-triggered K(+) efflux occurs in the same time frame as host cell wall degradation and ejection of viral DNA. Therefore, it is reasonable to postulate that loss of K(+) and associated water fluxes from the host lower the pressure barrier to aid ejection of DNA from the virus particles into the host.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Barium / pharmacology
  • Cesium / pharmacology
  • Chlorella / drug effects
  • Chlorella / metabolism*
  • Chlorella / virology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral / physiology
  • Phycodnaviridae / genetics
  • Phycodnaviridae / physiology*
  • Potassium / metabolism*
  • Potassium Channel Blockers / pharmacology
  • Viral Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism


  • Potassium Channel Blockers
  • Viral Proteins
  • Cesium
  • Barium
  • Potassium