Small hydrophobic protein of human metapneumovirus does not affect virus replication and host gene expression in vitro.

Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) encodes a small hydrophobic (SH) protein of unknown function. HMPV from which the SH open reading frame was deleted (HMPVΔSH) was viable and displayed similar replication kinetics, cytopathic effect and plaque size compared with wild type HMPV in several cell-lines. In addition, no differences were observed in infection efficiency or cell-to-cell spreading in human primary bronchial epithelial cells (HPBEC) cultured at an air-liquid interphase. Host gene expression was analyzed in A549 cells infected with HMPV or HMPVΔSH using microarrays and mass spectrometry (MS) based techniques at multiple time points post infection. Only minor differences were observed in mRNA or protein expression levels. A possible function of HMPV SH as apoptosis blocker, as proposed for several members of the family Paramyxoviridae, was rejected based on this analysis. So far, a clear phenotype of HMPV SH deletion mutants in vitro at the virus and host levels is absent.

2013 PLoS One
de Graaf M, Herfst S, Aarbiou J, Burgers PC, Zaaraoui-Boutahar F, Bijl M, van IJcken W, Schrauwen EJ, Osterhaus AD, Luider TM, Scholte BJ, Fouchier RA, Andeweg AC.