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The Isolation and Partial Biochemical Analysis of Sindbis Virus Proteins


Bell, John Richard (1981) The Isolation and Partial Biochemical Analysis of Sindbis Virus Proteins. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/w84z-ee41.


Recently, the amino acid sequences have been reported for several proteins, including the envelope glycoproteins of Sindbis virus, which all probably span the plasma membrane with a common topology: a large N-terminal, extracellular portion, a short region buried in the bilayer, and a short C-terminal intracellular segment. The regions of these proteins buried in the bilayer correspond to portions of the protein sequences which contain a stretch of hydrophobic amino acids and which have other common characteristics, as discussed. Reasons are also described for uncertainty, in some proteins more than others, as to the precise location of some parts of the sequence relative to the membrane.

The signal hypothesis for the transmembrane translocation of proteins is briefly described and its general applicability is reviewed. There are many proteins whose translocation is accurately described by this hypothesis, but some proteins are translocated in a different manner.

The transmembraneous glycoproteins E1 and E2 of Sindbis virus, as well as the only other virion protein, the capsid protein, were purified in amounts sufficient for biochemical analysis using sensitive techniques. The amino acid composition of each protein was determined, and extensive N-terminal sequences were obtained for E1 and E2. By these techniques E1 and E2 are indistinguishable from most water soluble proteins, as they do not contain an obvious excess of hydrophobic amino acids in their N-terminal regions or in the intact molecule.

The capsid protein was found to be blocked, and so its N-terminus could not be sequenced by the usual methods. However, with the use of a special labeling technique, it was possible to incorporate tritiated acetate into the N-terminus of the protein with good specificity, which was useful in the purification of peptides from which the first amino acids in the N-terminal sequence could be identified.

Nanomole amounts of PE2, the intracellular precursor of E2, were purified by an immuno-affinity technique, and its N-terminus was analyzed. Together with other work, these results showed that PE2 is not synthesized with an N-terminal extension, and the signal sequence for translocation is probably the N-terminal amino acid sequence of the protein. This N-terminus was found to be 80-90% blocked, also by Nacetylation, and this acetylation did not affect its function as a signal sequence. The putative signal sequence was also found to contain a glycosylated asparagine residue, but the inhibition of this glycosylation did not lead to the cleavage of the sequence.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Biochemistry
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Major Option:Biochemistry
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Strauss, James H.
Thesis Committee:
  • Strauss, James H. (chair)
  • Hood, Leroy E.
  • Lazarides, Elias
  • Mitchell, Herschel K.
  • Owen, Ray David
Defense Date:6 January 1981
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:06022015-104921135
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8969
Deposited On:02 Jun 2015 19:44
Last Modified:16 Apr 2021 22:12

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