Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



JOURNAL OF VIROLOGY, Mar. 2009, p. 2611–2622


Copyright © 2009, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


A recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV-PeGFP-M-MmRFP) encoding enhanced green fluorescent protein fused in frame with P (PeGFP) in place of P and a fusion matrix protein (monomeric red fluorescent protein fused in frame at the carboxy terminus of M [MmRFP]) at the G-L gene junction, in addition to wild-type (wt) M protein in its normal location, was recovered, but the MmRFP was not incorporated into the virions. Subsequently, we generated recombinant viruses (VSV-PeGFP-∆M-Mtc and VSV-∆M-Mtc) encoding Mprotein with a carboxy-terminal tetracysteine tag (Mtc) in place of the M protein. These recombinant viruses incorporated Mtc at levels similar to M in wt VSV, demonstrating recovery of infectious rhabdoviruses encoding and incorporating a tagged M protein. Virions released from cells infected with VSV-PeGFP-∆M-Mtc and labeled with the biarsenical red dye (ReAsH) were dually fluorescent, fluorescing green due to incorporation of PeGFP in the nucleocapsids and red due to incorporation of ReAsH-labeled Mtc in the viral envelope. Transport and subsequent association of M protein with the plasma membrane were shown to be independent of microtubules. Sequential labeling of VSV-∆M-Mtc-infected cells with the biarsenical dyes ReAsH and FlAsH (green) revealed that newly synthesized M protein reaches the plasma membrane in less than 30 min and continues to accumulate there for up to 2 1/2 hours. Using dually fluorescent VSV, we determined that following adsorption at the plasma membrane, the time taken by one-half of the virus particles to enter cells and to uncoat their nucleocapsids in the cytoplasm is approximately 28 min.