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J Biol Chem. 2002 Apr 19;277(16):14172-6. Epub 2002 Feb 14.

Self-assembly of human MxA GTPase into highly ordered dynamin-like oligomers.

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  • 1Abteilung Virologie, Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie und Hygiene, Universität Freiburg, D-79008 Freiburg, Germany.


Human MxA protein is a member of the interferon-induced Mx protein family and an important component of the innate host defense against RNA viruses. The Mx family belongs to a superfamily of large GTPases that also includes the dynamins and the interferon-regulated guanylate-binding proteins. A common feature of these large GTPases is their ability to form high molecular weight oligomers. Here we determined the capacity of MxA to self-assemble into homo-oligomers in vitro. We show that recombinant MxA protein assembles into long filamentous structures with a diameter of about 20 nm at physiological salt concentration as demonstrated by sedimentation assays and electron microscopy. In the presence of guanosine nucleotides the filaments rearranged into rings and more compact helical arrays. Our data indicate that binding and hydrolysis of GTP induce conformational changes in MxA that may be essential for viral target recognition and antiviral activity.

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