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Viral ion channels are membrane proteins of influenza viruses that play essential roles in the replication cycle, which enables them to be targeted by antiviral drugs. M2 of influenza type A virus, BM2 of influenza type B virus, and CM2 from influenza type C virus have been characterized as ion channel proteins and antiviral drug amantadine was developed to control influenza type A virus. However, few studies have been conducted to clarify the properties of the M2 protein (DM2) of influenza type D virus, a novel influenza virus genus identified in 2014. To identify the ion channel activity of DM2, we expressed DM2 in the oocytes of Xenopus laevis and measured the whole cell currents using the two-microelectrode voltage clamp method. While CM2 exhibited ion channel activity in the Xenopus oocyte as a control, DM2 also expressed the ion channel capability in the independent test. In addition, according to the clamping data of the oocytes expressing DM2, the current–voltage relationship was nonlinear, but it was a sigmoid curve as the function of hyperpolarization. These results suggest that DM2 forms a voltage-gated ion channel as CM2 does.
Advisor: Hideaki Moriyama