Cytoplasmic localization of the ORF2 protein of hepatitis E virus is dependent on its ability to undergo retrotranslocation from the endoplasmic reticulum

Milan Surjit, Shahid Jameel, Sunil K. Lal

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Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a positive-strand RNA virus that is prevalent in much of the developing world. ORF2 is the major capsid protein of HEV. Although ORF2 is an N-linked glycoprotein, it is abundantly located in the cytoplasm in addition to having membrane and surface localization. The mechanism by which ORF2 protein obtains access to the cytoplasm is unknown. In this report, we prove that initially all ORF2 protein is present in the endoplasmic reticulum and a fraction of it becomes retrotranslocated to the cytoplasm. The ability of ORF2 to be retrotranslocated is dependent on its glycosylation status and follows the canonical dislocation pathway. However, in contrast to general substrates of the dislocation pathway, retrotranslocated ORF2 protein is not a substrate of the 26S proteasome complex and is readily detectable in the cytoplasm in the absence of any protease inhibitor, suggesting that the retrotranslocated protein is stable in the cytoplasm. This study thus defines the pathway by which ORF2 obtains access to the cytoplasm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3339-3345
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes

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