African swine fever virus polyprotein pp62 is essential for viral core development

J Virol. 2010 Jan;84(1):176-87. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01858-09.


One of the most characteristic features of African swine fever virus gene expression is its use of two polyproteins, pp220 and pp62, to produce several structural proteins that account for approximately 32% of the total protein virion mass. Equimolecular amounts of these proteins are the major components of the core shell, a thick protein layer that lies beneath the inner envelope, surrounding the viral nucleoid. Polyprotein pp220, which is located immediately underneath the internal envelope, is essential for the encapsidation of the core of the viral particle. In its absence, the infection produces essentially coreless particles. In this study we analyzed, by means of an IPTG (isopropyl-beta-d-thiogalactopyranoside)-inducible virus, the role of polyprotein pp62 in virus assembly. Polyprotein pp62 is indispensable for viral replication. The repression of polyprotein pp62 expression does not alter late gene expression or the proteolytic processing of the polyprotein pp220. However, it has a profound impact on the subcellular localization of polyprotein pp220. Electron microscopy studies revealed that polyprotein pp62 is necessary for the correct assembly and maturation of the core of the viral particle. Its repression leads to the appearance of a significant fraction of empty particles, to an increase in the number of immature-like particles, and to the accumulation of defective particles. Immunoelectron microscopy analysis showed a clear correlation between the amount of polyprotein pp62, the quantity of polyprotein pp220, and the state of development of the core, suggesting that the complete absence of polyprotein pp62 during morphogenesis would produce a homogenous population of empty particles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • African Swine Fever Virus / chemistry
  • African Swine Fever Virus / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral
  • Polyproteins / physiology*
  • Viral Proteins / physiology*
  • Viral Structural Proteins
  • Virion
  • Virus Assembly*
  • Virus Replication


  • Polyproteins
  • Viral Proteins
  • Viral Structural Proteins