Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Nov 16;107(46):20069-74. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1007152107. Epub 2010 Oct 26.

Assembly of a functional Machupo virus polymerase complex.

Author information

  • 1Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Segmented negative-sense viruses of the family Arenaviridae encode a large polymerase (L) protein that contains all of the enzymatic activities required for RNA synthesis. These activities include an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) and an RNA endonuclease that cleaves capped primers from cellular mRNAs to prime transcription. Using purified catalytically active Machupo virus L, we provide a view of the overall architecture of this multifunctional polymerase and reconstitute complex formation with an RNA template in vitro. The L protein contains a central ring domain that is similar in appearance to the RdRP of dsRNA viruses and multiple accessory appendages that may be responsible for 5' cap formation. RNA template recognition by L requires a sequence-specific motif located at positions 2-5 in the 3' terminus of the viral genome. Moreover, L-RNA complex formation depends on single-stranded RNA, indicating that inter-termini dsRNA interactions must be partially broken for complex assembly to occur. Our results provide a model for arenavirus polymerase-template interactions and reveal the structural organization of a negative-strand RNA virus L protein.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk