Three-dimensional structure of Theiler murine encephalomyelitis virus (BeAn strain).


Depending on the strain, Theiler murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) may cause acute encephalitis or chronic demyelinating disease, which is associated with viral persistence in mice. Persistent central nervous system infection and demyelination by the less-virulent TMEV has provided a useful animal model for the human demyelinating disease multiple sclerosis. The less-virulent BeAn strain of TMEV was crystallized and its atomic structure was determined by x-ray crystallography. The alpha-carbon coordinates of the closely related Mengo virus were used to calculate the initial phases to 3.5 A resolution and the interpretable electron density map was produced by 10 cycles of 30-fold noncrystallographic molecular replacement averaging. The structure revealed a high degree of overall structural similarity to Mengo virus as well as substantial differences in the surface loops. These structural changes might be correlated with TMEV host-specific recognition, pH-related stability, and neurovirulence.

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