Tel. +49 30 838 51833 Fax. +49 30 838 451847
S acylation of cysteines located in the transmembrane and/or cytoplasmic region of influenza virus hemagglutinins (HA) contributes to the membrane fusion and assembly of virions. Our results from using mass spectrometry (MS) show that influenza B virus HA possessing two cytoplasmic cysteines contains palmitate, whereas HA-esterase-fusion glycoprotein of influenza C virus having one transmembrane cysteine is stearoylated. HAs of influenza A virus having one transmembrane and two cytoplasmic cysteines contain both palmitate and stearate. MS analysis of recombinant viruses with deletions of individual cysteines, as well as tandem-MS sequencing, revealed the surprising result that stearate is exclusively attached to the cysteine positioned in the transmembrane region of HA.