Identification of a novel protein 3a from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus

Chia Jung Yu, Yee Chun Chen, Cheng Hsiang Hsiao, Tse Chun Kuo, Shin C. Chang, Chun Yi Lu, Wen Chin Wei, Chia Huei Lee, Li Min Huang, Ming Fu Chang, Hong Nerng Ho, Fang Jen S. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


The open reading frame 3 of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) genome encodes a predicted protein 3a, consisting of 274 amino acids, that lacks any significant similarities to any known protein. We generated specific antibodies against SARS protein 3a by using a synthetic peptide (P2) corresponding to amino acids 261-274 of the putative protein. Anti-P2 antibodies and the sera from SARS patients could specifically detect the recombinant SARS protein 3a expressed in Escherichia coli and in Vero E6 cells. Expression of SARS protein 3a was detected at 8-12 h after infection and reached a higher level after ∼24 h in SARS-CoV-infected Vero E6 cells. Protein 3a was also detected in the alveolar lining pneumocytes and some intra-alveolar cells of a SARS-CoV-infected patient's lung specimen. Recombinant protein 3a expressed in Vero E6 cells and protein 3a in the SARS-CoV-infected cells was distributed over the cytoplasm in a fine punctate pattern with partly concentrated staining in the Golgi apparatus. Our study demonstrates that SARS-CoV indeed expresses a novel protein 3a, which is present only in SARS-CoV and not in other known CoVs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-116
Number of pages6
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - May 7 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Atypical pneumonia
  • CoV, coronavirus
  • Golgi
  • Nuclocapsid
  • SARS
  • SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome
  • Vero E6 cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Identification of a novel protein 3a from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this