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Biochemistry. 2012 Feb 21;51(7):1357-68. doi: 10.1021/bi201580f. Epub 2012 Feb 9.

Cooperative heteroassembly of the adenoviral L4-22K and IVa2 proteins onto the viral packaging sequence DNA.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Colorado Denver, C238, 12850 East Montview Boulevard, V20-4121, Aurora, Colorado 80045, United States.


Human adenovirus (Ad) is an icosahedral, double-stranded DNA virus. Viral DNA packaging refers to the process whereby the viral genome becomes encapsulated by the viral particle. In Ad, activation of the DNA packaging reaction requires at least three viral components: the IVa2 and L4-22K proteins and a section of DNA within the viral genome, called the packaging sequence. Previous studies have shown that the IVa2 and L4-22K proteins specifically bind to conserved elements within the packaging sequence and that these interactions are absolutely required for the observation of DNA packaging. However, the equilibrium mechanism for assembly of IVa2 and L4-22K onto the packaging sequence has not been determined. Here we characterize the assembly of the IVa2 and L4-22K proteins onto truncated packaging sequence DNA by analytical sedimentation velocity and equilibrium methods. At limiting concentrations of L4-22K, we observe a species with two IVa2 monomers and one L4-22K monomer bound to the DNA. In this species, the L4-22K monomer is promoting positive cooperative interactions between the two bound IVa2 monomers. As L4-22K levels are increased, we observe a species with one IVa2 monomer and three L4-22K monomers bound to the DNA. To explain this result, we propose a model in which L4-22K self-assembly on the DNA competes with IVa2 for positive heterocooperative interactions, destabilizing binding of the second IVa2 monomer. Thus, we propose that L4-22K levels control the extent of cooperativity observed between adjacently bound IVa2 monomers. We have also determined the hydrodynamic properties of all observed stoichiometric species; we observe that species with three L4-22K monomers bound have more extended conformations than species with a single L4-22K bound. We suggest this might reflect a molecular switch that controls insertion of the viral DNA into the capsid.

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