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Virology. 2010 Mar 1;398(1):1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2009.11.028. Epub 2009 Dec 11.

Porcine circovirus type 2 ORF3 protein competes with p53 in binding to Pirh2 and mediates the deregulation of p53 homeostasis.

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  • 1Animal Health Biotechnology Group, Temasek Lifesciences Laboratory, The National University of Singapore, 1 Research Link, Singapore 117604.


The ORF3 protein of porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) causes apoptosis in virus-infected cells and is not essential for virus replication. The ORF3 protein plays an important role in the pathogenesis of the PCV2 infection in mouse models and SPF piglets. The ORF3 protein interacts with the porcine homologue of Pirh2 (pPirh2), a p53-induced ubiquitin-protein E3 ligase, which regulates p53 ubiquitination. Here, we present our study analyzing the details of the molecular interaction between these three factors. Our experiments, in vitro and in vivo, show that ORF3 protein competes with p53 in binding to pPirh2. The amino acid residues 20 to 65 of the ORF3 protein are essential in this competitive interaction of ORF3 protein with pPirh2 over p53. The interaction of ORF3 protein with pPirh2 also leads to an alteration in the physiological cellular localization of pPirh2 and a significant reduction in the stability of pPirh2. These events contribute to the deregulation of p53 by pPirh2, leading to increased p53 levels and apoptosis of the infected cells.

Copyright 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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