Aquareovirus Effects Syncytiogenesis by Using a Novel Member of the FAST Protein Family Translated from a Noncanonical Translation Start Site
Racine T., Hurst T., Barry C., Shou J., Kibenge F., Duncan R.
ABSTRACT As nonenveloped viruses, the aquareoviruses and orthoreoviruses are unusual in their ability to induce cell-cell fusion and syncytium formation. While an extraordinary family of fusion-associated small transmembrane (FAST) proteins is responsible for orthoreovirus syncytiogenesis, the basis for aquareovirus-induced syncytiogenesis is unknown. We now report that the S7 genome segment of an Atlantic salmon reovirus is polycistronic and uses a noncanonical CUG translation start codon to produce a 22-kDa integral membrane protein responsible for syncytiogenesis. The aquareovirus p22 protein represents a fourth distinct member of the FAST family with a unique repertoire and arrangement of structural motifs.