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J Biol Chem. 1980 Jul 25;255(14):6739-44.

Purification and properties of a HeLa cell enzyme able to remove the 5'-terminal protein from poliovirus RNA.


Using a rapid phenol extraction assay, an enzyme was purified from uninfected HeLa cells that can cleave the 5'-terminal protein (VPg) from poliovirus RNA. Both cytoplasmic and nuclear extracts had enzymes with similar behavior. A polypeptide of molecular weight 27,000 was the major one present in the purified preparation. Assuming that this protein is the enzyme, a very low turnover number was calculated for it. The purified enzyme would cleave the tyrosine-phosphate bond linking VPg to poliovirus RNA with minimal degradation of the RNA or of VPg. If the RNA was first treated with proteinase K to degrade VPg, leaving a small peptide on the RNA, this peptide could also be removed by the enzyme. If the RNA was degraded with T1 RNase, leaving VPg attached to a nonanucleotide, the enzyme still would cleave off VPg, although incompletely. If the RNA was degraded completely, leaving either pUp or pU attached to VPg, the enzyme would not remove the nucleotides from the protein. Thus, for the enzyme to be active requires some length of polynucleotide attached to the protein but only a short peptide need be present for the enzyme to act.

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