Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Department of


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A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfilment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Integrative Biomedical Sciences, Under the Supervision of Professor Asit K. Pattnaik. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2010
Copyright 2010 Phani Bhusan Das


The porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is an economically important pathogen of swine and is known to cause abortion and infertility in pregnant sows and respiratory distress in piglets. PRRSV contains a major glycoprotein (GP5) and three minor glycoproteins (GP2a, GP3, and GP4) on the virion envelope, all of which are required for infectious virus production. To study their interactions amongst each other and with a cellular receptor for PRRSV, CD163, I cloned each of the viral glycoproteins and CD163 in various expression vectors. My studies have shown that while the GP2a, GP3, and GP4 are co-translationally glycosylated, the GP5 is post-translationally glycosylated. By using co-immunoprecipitation (co-IP) assays, strong interaction was demonstrated between GP4 and GP5 proteins, although weak interactions among the other envelope glycoproteins were also detected. Further, GP4 was found to mediate interactions leading to formation of multiprotein glycoprotein complex. My results also show that GP2a and GP4 proteins are the only two GPs that specifically interact with the CD163 molecule and that glycosylation of these GPs is required for efficient interaction. Based on these studies, I have developed an interactome map of the viral GPs and CD163 and have proposed a model of the viral glycoprotein complex and its interaction with CD163. Studies reported here also show that glycan addition at residue 184 (N184) of GP2a, and residues N42, N50, and N131 of GP3 is essential for recovery of infectious virus. Although single site glycosylation mutants of GP4 had no effect on infectious virus production, introduction of double mutations was lethal. The loss of glycan moieties of GP2a, GP3, and GP4 proteins had no effect on host neutralizing antibody production. Overall, I conclude that the PRRSV glycoproteins are co-translationally and post-translationally glycosylated, the GP4 protein is central to mediating interglycoprotein interactions, and along with GP2a, serves as the viral attachment protein that is responsible for interactions with the viral receptor, CD163. Further, glycosylation of GP2a, GP3, and GP4 proteins is required for infectious virus production, efficient interaction with CD163, but does not play any role in neutralizing antibody response in infected animals.