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The vaccinia virus (VV) F12L gene encodes a 65 kDa protein that is expressed late during infection and is important for plaque formation, EEV production and virulence. Here we have used a recombinant virus (vF12LHA) in which the F12L protein is tagged at the C terminus with an epitope recognized by a monoclonal antibody to determine the location of F12L in infected cells and whether it associates with virions. Using confocal and electron microscopy we show that the F12L protein is located on intracellular enveloped virus (IEV) particles, but is absent from immature virions (IV), intracellular mature virus (IMV) and cell-associated enveloped virus (CEV). In addition, F12L shows co-localization with endosomal compartments and microtubules. F12L did not co-localize with virions attached to actin tails, providing further evidence that actin tails are associated with CEV but not IEV particles. In vΔF12L-infected cells, virus morphogenesis was arrested after the formation of IEV particles, so that the movement of these virions to the cell surface was inhibited and CEV particles were not found. Previously, virus mutants lacking IEV- or EEV-specific proteins were either unable to make IEV particles (vΔF13L and vΔB5R), or were unable to form actin tails after formation of CEV particles (vΔA36R, vΔA33R, vΔA34R). The F12L deletion mutant therefore defines a new stage in the morphogenic pathway and the F12L protein is implicated as necessary for microtubule-mediated egress of IEV particles to the cell surface.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of General Virology


Microbiology Society

Publication Date





195 - 207