We recently identified and cloned the receptor for subgroup C avian sarcoma and leukosis viruses [ASLV(C)], i.e., Tvc, a protein most closely related to mammalian butyrophilins, which are members of the immunoglobulin protein family. The extracellular domain of Tvc contains two immunoglobulin-like domains, IgV and IgC, which presumably each contain a disulfide bond important for native function of the protein. In this study, we have begun to identify the functional determinants of Tvc responsible for ASLV(C) receptor activity. We found that the IgV domain of the Tvc receptor is responsible for interacting with the glycoprotein of ASLV(C). Additional experiments demonstrated that a domain was necessary as a spacer between the IgV domain and the membrane-spanning domain for efficient Tvc receptor activity, most likely to orient the IgV domain a proper distance from the cell membrane. The effects on ASLV(C) glycoprotein binding and infection efficiency were also studied by site-directed mutagenesis of the cysteine residues of Tvc as well as conserved amino acid residues of the IgV Tvc domain compared to other IgV domains. In this initial analysis of Tvc determinants important for interacting with ASLV(C) glycoproteins, at least two aromatic amino acid residues in the IgV domain of Tvc, Trp-48 and Tyr-105, were identified as critical for efficient ASLV(C) infection. Interestingly, one or more aromatic amino acid residues have been identified as critical determinants in the other ASLV(A-E) receptors for a proper interaction with ASLV glycoproteins. This suggests that the ASLV glycoproteins may share a common mechanism of receptor interaction with an aromatic residue(s) on the receptor critical for triggering conformational changes in SU that initiate the fusion process required for efficient virus infection.
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