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J Virol. 1996 Jul;70(7):4538-48.

Constitutive phosphorylation of the vesicular stomatitis virus P protein modulates polymerase complex formation but is not essential for transcription or replication.

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  • 1Molecular Biology Institute and Department of Biology, San Diego State University, San Diego, California 92182, USA.

Abstract

As a subunit of both the P-L polymerase complex and the P-N assembly complex, the vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) P protein plays a pivotal role in transcription and replication of the viral genome. Constitutive phosphorylation of this protein is currently thought to be essential for formation of the P-L complex. We recently identified the three relevant phosphate acceptor sites in the VSV Indiana serotype P protein (R. L. Jackson, D. Spadafora, and J. Perrault, Virology 214:189-197, 1995). We now report the effects of substituting Ala at these acceptor sites on transcription reconstitution in vitro and replication of defective interfering virus (DI) templates in vivo. The singly substituted S60A, T62A, and S64A mutants and the doubly substituted S60A/T62A and T62A/S64A mutants, all of which retain some constitutive phosphorylation, were nearly as active as the wild type in both assays. Surprisingly, the nonphosphorylated S60A/S64A protein was also active in transcription (> or = 28%)) and replication (> or = 50%) under optimal conditions. However, this mutant was much less active in in vitro transcription (< or = 5% of wild type) at low P concentrations (<27 nM). In addition, S60A/S64A required higher concentrations of L protein than did the wild type for optimal DI replication in vivo. DI replication efficiency and intracellular accumulation of L, P, and N proteins in the transfected system were very similar to those in VSV-infected cells. We conclude that P protein constitutive phosphorylation is not essential for VSV RNA synthesis per se but likely plays an important role in vivo in facilitating P multimerization and possibly P-L complex formation.

PMID:
8676480
PMCID:
PMC190390
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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