Mutation of a Single Envelope N-linked Glycosylation Site Enhances the Pathogenicity of Bovine Leukemia Virus

Alix de Brogniez, Amel-Baya Bouzar, J.-R. Jacques, J.-P. Cosse, N. Gillet, Isabelle Callebaut, M. Reichert, L. Willems

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[en] Viruses have co-evolved with their host to ensure efficient replication and transmission without inducing excessive pathogenicity that would indirectly impair their persistence. This is exemplified by the bovine leukemia virus (BLV) system in which lymphoproliferative disorders develop in ruminants after latency periods of several years. In principle, the equilibrium reached between the virus and its host could be disrupted by emergence of more pathogenic strains. Intriguingly but fortunately, such a hyperpathogenic BLV strain was never observed in the field nor designed in vitro. In this study, we aimed at understanding the role of envelope N-linked glycosylation with the hypothesis that this posttranslational modification could either favor BLV infection by allowing viral entry or allow immune escape by using glycans as a shield. Using reverse genetics of an infectious molecular provirus, we have identified a N-linked envelope glycosylation site (N230) that limits viral replication and pathogenicity. Indeed, mutation N230E unexpectedly leads to enhanced fusogenicity and protein stability. Occurrence of this mutation may thus represent a potential threat associated with emergence of hyperpathogenic BLV strains and possibly of new variants of the related primate T-lymphotropic viruses.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Sciences du vivant => Biochimie, biophysique biologie moléculaire
  • Bovine leukemia virus
  • N-Glycosylation
  • Hyperpathogenicity

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