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Biochemistry. 2002 Oct 8;41(40):11946-53.

Characterization of subunit-specific interactions in a double-stranded RNA virus: Raman difference spectroscopy of the phi6 procapsid.

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  • 1Division of Cell Biology and Biophysics, School of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO 64110, USA.

Abstract

The icosahedral core of a double-stranded (ds) RNA virus hosts RNA-dependent polymerase activity and provides the molecular machinery for RNA packaging. The stringent requirements of dsRNA metabolism may explain the similarities observed in core architecture among a broad spectrum of dsRNA viruses, from the mammalian rotaviruses to the Pseudomonas bacteriophage phi6. Although the structure of the assembled core has been described in atomic detail for Reoviridae (blue tongue virus and reovirus), the molecular mechanism of assembly has not been characterized in terms of conformational changes and key interactions of protein constituents. In the present study, we address such questions through the application of Raman spectroscopy to an in vitro core assembly system--the procapsid of phi6. The phi6 procapsid, which comprises multiple copies of viral proteins P1 (copy number 120), P2 (12), P4 (72), and P7 (60), represents a precursor of the core that is devoid of RNA. Raman signatures of the procapsid, its purified recombinant core protein components, and purified sub-assemblies lacking either one or two of the protein components have been obtained and interpreted. The major procapsid protein (P1), which forms the skeletal frame of the core, is an elongated and monomeric molecule of high alpha-helical content. The fold of the core RNA polymerase (P2) is also mostly alpha-helical. On the other hand, the folds of both the procapsid accessory protein (P7) and RNA-packaging ATPase (P4) are of the alpha/beta type. Raman difference spectra show that conformational changes occur upon interaction of P1 with either P4 or P7 in the procapsid. These changes involve substantial ordering of the polypeptide backbone. Conversely, conformations of procapsid subunits are not significantly affected by interactions with P2. An assembly model is proposed in which P1 induces alpha-helix in P4 during formation of the nucleation complex. Subsequently, the partially disordered P7 subunit is folded within the context of the procapsid shell.

PMID:
12356294
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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