Measles virus (MV), an enveloped RNA virus belonging to the Paramyxoviridae family, enters the cell through membrane fusion mediated by two viral envelope proteins, an attachment protein hemagglutinin (H) and a fusion (F) protein. The crystal structure of the receptor-binding head domain of MV-H bound to its cellular receptor revealed that the MV-H head domain forms a tetrameric assembly (dimer of dimers), which occurs in two forms (forms I and II). In this study, we show that mutations in the putative dimer-dimer interface of the head domain in either form inhibit the ability of MV-H to support membrane fusion, without greatly affecting its cell surface expression, receptor binding, and interaction with the F protein. Notably, some anti-MV-H neutralizing monoclonal antibodies are directed to the region around the dimer-dimer interface in form I rather than receptor-binding sites. These observations suggest that the dimer-dimer interactions of the MV-H head domain, especially that in form I, contribute to triggering membrane fusion, and that conformational shift of head domain tetramers plays a role in the process. Furthermore, our results indicate that although the stalk and transmembrane regions may be mainly responsible for the tetramer formation of MV-H, the head domain alone can form tetramers, albeit at a low efficiency.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology