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Open Access Research

Tula hantavirus isolate with the full-length ORF for nonstructural protein NSs survives for more consequent passages in interferon-competent cells than the isolate having truncated NSs ORF

Kirsi M Jääskeläinen1*, Angelina Plyusnina1, Åke Lundkvist23, Antti Vaheri1 and Alexander Plyusnin12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Virology, Haartman Institute, PO Box 21, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

2 Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, S-171 82 Stockholm, Sweden

3 Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institutet, S-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden

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Virology Journal 2008, 5:3  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-5-3

Published: 11 January 2008

Abstract

Background

The competitiveness of two Tula hantavirus (TULV) isolates, TULV/Lodz and TULV/Moravia, was evaluated in interferon (IFN) -competent and IFN-deficient cells. The two isolates differ in the length of the open reading frame (ORF) encoding the nonstructural protein NSs, which has previously been shown to inhibit IFN response in infected cells.

Results

In IFN-deficient Vero E6 cells both TULV isolates survived equally well. In contrast, in IFN-competent MRC5 cells TULV/Lodz isolate, that possesses the NSs ORF for the full-length protein of 90 aa, survived for more consequent passages than TULV/Moravia isolate, which contains the ORF for truncated NSs protein (66–67 aa).

Conclusion

Our data show that expression of a full-length NSs protein is beneficial for the virus survival and competitiveness in IFN-competent cells and not essential in IFN-deficient cells. These results suggest that the N-terminal aa residues are important for the full activity of the NSs protein.