1.A.85 The Poliovirus 2B Viroporin (2B Viroporin) Family

Viroporins are involved in destroying the morphology of host cells and disturbing their biological functions to complete the life cycle of the virus. The 2B proteins encoded by enteroviruses, which belong to the family Picornaviridae, can form transmembrane pores by oligomerization, increase the permeability of plasma membranes, disturb the homeostasis of calcium in cells, induce apoptosis, and cause autophagy; these abilities are shared among viroporins. Ao et al. 2014 introduced the structure and biological characteristics of various 2B proteins encoded by enteroviruses.

Poliovirus provides a well-characterized system for understanding how nonenveloped viruses enter and infect cells. It forms a pore in the host cell membrane to facilitate entry of its nucleic acid into the host cell. It is localized to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and the Golgi complex, inducing membrane remodeling and blockade of glycoprotein trafficking (Martínez-Gil et al. 2011). Two hydrophobic regions appear to cooperate to insert viroporin 2B into the ER-derived microsomal membrane. These viruses are single stranded RNA (positive strand) viruses. The human poliovirus nonstructural 2B protein is involved in cell membrane permeabilization during late viral infection. It inserts into anionic phospholipid unilamellar vesicles to form pores. Molecules of a size less than 1000 daltons can pass through these channels. Oligomerization is required for activity, and an SDS-resistant tetramer was demonstrated (Agirre et al. 2002). The 2B viroporin is 97 aas long. 2B insertion and pore-opening are mechanistically distinguishable events modulated by the target membrane anionic phospholipids (Agirre et al. 2008). A tetrameric bundle model of 2B has been proposed (Patargias et al. 2009). The bundles show a pore lining motif of three lysines followed by a serine. Different possible orientations of the helices in the membrane may influence the in vivo activity of 2B.

Upon binding its receptor, poliovirus undergoes an irreversible conformational change to the 135S cell entry intermediate (Bubeck et al. 2005). This transition involves shifts of the capsid protein beta barrels, accompanied by the externalization of VP4 and the N terminus of VP1 (Tuthill et al. 2006). Both polypeptides associate with membranes and are postulated to facilitate entry by forming a translocation pore for the viral RNA. Each N terminus of VP1 exits the capsid though an opening in the interface between VP1 and VP3 at the base of the canyon that surrounds the fivefold axis. Comparison with reconstructions of 135S particles in which the first 31 residues of VP1 were proteolytically removed revealed that the externalized N terminus is located near the tips of propeller-like features surrounding the threefold axes.

The 2B viroporin is derived by proteolytic processing from the polyprotein of poliovirus (P03300), a protein of 2209 amino acyl residues. 2B viroporin corresponds to residues 1031-1127 in this polyprotein. The 2B viroporin is homologous to proteins of somewhat divergent sequence in various poliovirus strains as well as in other viruses such as coxsackieviruses, enteroviruses, rhinoviruses, echoviruses, and vesicular disease viruses. These proteins are generally all >40% identical to each other.

The poliovirus 2B protein has been recently implicated in apoptosis. The pore-forming P3 peptide, derived from the 2B amphipathic domain, translocates through the plasma membrane of culture cells and targets mitochondria. Cell permeabilization by P3 versions of different lengths, together with peptide uptake analyses supported an internalization mechanism dependent on the P3 capacity to interact with lipid bilayers and establish permeating pores. Internalized P3 was found associated with mitochondria, but in contrast to the parental 2B protein, the shorter peptide did not affect the morphology or cell distribution of these organelles; nor did it induce apoptosis. P3 constitutes a mitochondriotropic sequence, which is devoid of 2B pro-apoptotic activity (Madan et al. 2010).

Enterovirus polypeptide (EP) (2209aas) is degraded to several proteins/peptides including the VP1, VP2, VP3 and VP4 capsid proteins. VP1 (CAB65072; 302aas; residues 580-881 in EP) and myristoylated VP4 (BAE06026; 69aas; residues 1-69 in EP) may form pores (Bubeck et al., 2005; Tuthill et al., 2006). Viroporin (Poliovirus 2B; YP_001497168, 99aas; residues 1031-1127 in EP; Agirre et al., 2002), known to form pores, is possibly involved in virus particle release. It also derived from the enterovirus polypeptide. The active peptide in the poliovirus 2B viroporin is only 21 residues long (residues 35-55) and forms tetrameric α-helical transmembrane hydrophilic pores (Madan et al., 2007a,b; Nieva et al., 2003). Viroporins are reviewed by Gonzalez and Carrasco (2003). Poliovirus 3B can also form pores (Madan et al., 2007a). The 2B viroporin membranolytic domains, TM1 (residues 35-55) and TM2 (residues 59-82) act together to create cytolytic activity in the endomembranes targeted by 2B (Sánchez-Martínez et al. 2008).

The reaction catalyzed by the 2B viroporin is:

small molecules (in) ⇌ small molecules (out)

This family belongs to the .



Agirre, A., A. Barco, L. Carrasco, and J.L. Nieva. (2002). Viroporin-mediated membrane permeabilization. Pore formation by nonstructural poliovirus 2B protein. J. Biol. Chem. 277: 40434-40441.

Agirre, A., M. Lorizate, S. Nir, and J.L. Nieva. (2008). Poliovirus 2b insertion into lipid monolayers and pore formation in vesicles modulated by anionic phospholipids. Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 1778: 2621-2626.

Ao, D., H.C. Guo, S.Q. Sun, D.H. Sun, T.S. Fung, Y.Q. Wei, S.C. Han, X.P. Yao, S.Z. Cao, D.X. Liu, and X.T. Liu. (2015). Viroporin Activity of the Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus Non-Structural 2B Protein. PLoS One 10: e0125828.

Ao, D., S.Q. Sun, and H.C. Guo. (2014). Topology and biological function of enterovirus non-structural protein 2B as a member of the viroporin family. Vet Res 45: 87.

Bubeck, D., D.J. Filman, N. Cheng, A.C. Steven, J.M. Hogle, and D.M. Belnap. (2005). The structure of the poliovirus 135S cell entry intermediate at 10-angstrom resolution reveals the location of an externalized polypeptide that binds to membranes. J. Virol. 79: 7745-7755.

Gladue, D.P., E. Largo, I. de la Arada, V.M. Aguilella, A. Alcaraz, J.L.R. Arrondo, L.G. Holinka, E. Brocchi, E. Ramirez-Medina, E.A. Vuono, K.A. Berggren, C. Carrillo, J.L. Nieva, and M.V. Borca. (2018). Molecular characterization of the viroporin function of foot-and-mouth disease virus non-structural protein 2B. J. Virol. [Epub: Ahead of Print]

Gonzalez, M.E. and L. Carrasco. (2003). Viroporins. FEBS Lett. 552: 28-34.

Hyser, J.M. and M.K. Estes. (2015). Pathophysiological Consequences of Calcium-Conducting Viroporins. Annu Rev Virol 2: 473-496.

Ito, M., Y. Yanagi, and T. Ichinohe. (2012). Encephalomyocarditis virus viroporin 2B activates NLRP3 inflammasome. PLoS Pathog 8: e1002857.

Madan, V., S. Sánchez-Martínez, L. Carrasco, and J.L. Nieva. (2010). A peptide based on the pore-forming domain of pro-apoptotic poliovirus 2B viroporin targets mitochondria. Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 1798: 52-58.

Martínez-Gil, L., M. Bañó-Polo, N. Redondo, S. Sánchez-Martínez, J.L. Nieva, L. Carrasco, and I. Mingarro. (2011). Membrane integration of poliovirus 2B viroporin. J. Virol. 85: 11315-11324.

Patargias, G., T. Barke, A. Watts, and W.B. Fischer. (2009). Model generation of viral channel forming 2B protein bundles from polio and coxsackie viruses. Mol. Membr. Biol. 26: 309-320.

Sánchez-Martínez, S., N. Huarte, R. Maeso, V. Madan, L. Carrasco, and J.L. Nieva. (2008). Functional and structural characterization of 2B viroporin membranolytic domains. Biochemistry 47: 10731-10739.

Sánchez-Martínez, S., V. Madan, L. Carrasco, and J.L. Nieva. (2012). Membrane-active peptides derived from picornavirus 2B viroporin. Curr. Protein. Pept. Sci. 13: 632-643.

Tuthill, T.J., D. Bubeck, D.J. Rowlands, and J.M. Hogle. (2006). Characterization of early steps in the poliovirus infection process: receptor-decorated liposomes induce conversion of the virus to membrane-anchored entry-intermediate particles. J. Virol. 80: 172-180.


TC#NameOrganismal TypeExample

The human poliovirus 2B viroporin (from the polyprotein). The 97 residue 2B viroporin consists of residues 1031-1127 in the polyprotein.  in vitro and in vivo translation-glycosylation compatible with the translocon-mediated insertion of the 2B product into the ER membrane as a double-spanning integral membrane protein with an N-/C-terminal cytoplasmic orientation has been reported (Agirre et al. 2008; Martínez-Gil et al. 2011). The in vitro translation of several truncated versions of the 2B protein suggests that the two hydrophobic regions cooperate to insert into the ER-derived microsomal membranes. The 3A viroporin of poliovirus transports monovalent cations (Hyser and Estes 2015).


2B viroporin of Human poliovirus 1 (Q9Q280)


2B protein (99 aas) derived from the polyprotein of human coxsackie virus (Patargias et al., 2009).


B2 capsid protein of the human coxsackie virus. (Q5MP79)


Echovirus E30 polyprotein (128 aas; fragment).  An intracellular (endomembrane) pore-forming peptide toxin which induces membrane permeability due to two consecutive hydrophobic segments that may form an α-helix-turn-α-helix hairpin membrane anchor that provides the basis for oligomeric pore formation (Sánchez-Martínez et al. 2012).  This protein is derived from the Coxsackle virus B2 protein of 2187 aas (Q9YLG5) and may interact with a Ryanodine receptor (Schilling et al. 2013).


Polyprotein, including the 100 aa viroporin of human enterovirus (echovirus E30)


Polyprotein of 2333 aas (includes the viroporin peptide, NS2B).  Viroporin activity for the NS2B protein has been demonstrated (Ao et al. 2015).

Viroporin-containing polyprotein of foot-and-mouth disease virus


Rat picornavirus 2B protein of 116 as and 2 TMSs, a membrane active peptide (Sánchez-Martínez et al. 2012).

2B protein of rat picornavirus


The genome polyprotein of 2292 aas encoding the viroporin of Encephalomyocarditis virus (Ito et al. 2012).

Polyprotein of Encephalomyocarditis virus


Human rhinovirus 1A 2B protein of 2157 aas

2B of human rhionvirus 1A


The Viroporin, protein 2B, of 154 aas and 3 TMSs where TMS 2 provides the channel activity.  Transports cations, Ca2+ and small molecules (Gladue et al. 2018).  Present within the Polyprotein of 2332 aas. 

Poly protein of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV)