Growth impairment resulting from expression of influenza virus M2 protein in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: Identification of a novel inhibitor of influenza virus

Academic Article


  • The gene encoding M2, the ion channel-forming protein of influenza virus A, was expressed under the control of an inducible promoter in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. By using single and multicopy plasmids containing GAL promoter- M2 fusions, a correlation was observed between plasmid copy number and growth in medium inducing M2 expression. Cells expressing M2 from multicopy plasmids have reduced growth rates, suggesting that high levels of M2 are toxic to growth. The addition of amantadine, a compound known to block the ion channel activity of certain M2 alleles, restores the growth rates to wild-type levels in cells expressing an amantadine-susceptible allele of M2 but not an amantadine-resistant allele of M2, suggesting that M2 expression in S. cerevisiae results in the formation of functional M2 ion channels. Measurements of extracellular acidification by microphysiometry suggest that proton efflux in M2-expressing cells is altered and that the addition of amantadine permits the reestablishment of the proton gradient. The growth impairment phenotype resulting from M2 expression was used to develop a high-capacity screening assay which identified a novel inhibitor possessing an antiviral profile similar to that of amantadine.
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    Author List

  • Kurtz S; Luo G; Hahnenberger KM; Brooks C; Gecha O; Ingalls K; Numata - KI; Krystal M
  • Start Page

  • 2204
  • End Page

  • 2209
  • Volume

  • 39
  • Issue

  • 10