The coronavirus E protein: assembly and beyond

Viruses. 2012 Mar;4(3):363-82. doi: 10.3390/v4030363. Epub 2012 Mar 8.


The coronavirus E protein is a small membrane protein that has an important role in the assembly of virions. Recent studies have indicated that the E protein has functions during infection beyond assembly, including in virus egress and in the host stress response. Additionally, the E protein has ion channel activity, interacts with host proteins, and may have multiple membrane topologies. The goal of this review is to highlight the properties and functions of the E protein, and speculate on how they may be related.

Keywords: Golgi complex; coronavirus assembly; envelope protein; ion channel; membrane protein topology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Coronavirus / physiology*
  • Ion Channels / metabolism
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / chemistry
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / metabolism*
  • Virus Assembly*
  • Virus Release*


  • Ion Channels
  • Viral Envelope Proteins