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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1977 Jan; 74(1): 59–63.
PMCID: PMC393196

A protein covalently linked to poliovirus genome RNA.


Poliovirion [32P]RNA, after digestion with RNase T2, yields mononucleotides and a labeled compound "X," which is not negatively charged at pH 5. X contains, relative to the label in virion RNA, one to two phosphates and is partially acid insoluble. It can be labeled with tritiated amino acids 3 hr after infection, is insoluble in chloroform/methanol, and can be digested with Pronase. These observations suggest that X is a protein. The protein cannot be removed from the polio genome when the RNA is (i) sedimented through a sucrose gradient in 0.5 M NaCl, (ii) heated to 100 degrees in the presence of sodium dodecyl sulfate followed by sedimentation through a sucrose gradient in 80% dimethylsulfoxide, or (iii) banded in 4 M cesium trichloroacetate. Digestion of the 32P-labeled protein with Pronase yields one major 32P-labeled product, which contains pUp. The protein migrates faster than capsid protein VP4 in a polyacrylamide gel. Our data show that the genome of poliovirus, but not poliovirus mRNA [A. Nomoto, Y. F. Lee, and E. Wimmer (1976) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 73, 375-380], is covalently attached to a small virus-coded protein (molecular weight less than 7000), which we call VPg. VPg is probably linked to the 5' end of the polio genome. Possible functions of VPg in viral replication are discussed.

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Selected References

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