National Center for
4CSF: Structural Insights Into Toscana Virus Rna Encapsidation
Nucleic Acids Res. (2014) 42 p.6025-6037
Toscana virus is an emerging bunyavirus in Mediterranean Europe where it accounts for 80% of pediatric meningitis cases during the summer. The negative-strand ribonucleic acid (RNA) genome of the virus is wrapped around the virally encoded nucleoprotein N to form the ribonucleoprotein complex (RNP). We determined crystal structures of hexameric N alone (apo) and in complex with a nonameric single-stranded RNA. RNA is sequestered in a sequence-independent fashion in a deep groove inside the hexamer. At the junction between two adjacent copies of Ns, RNA binding induced an inter-subunit rotation, which opened the RNA-binding tunnel and created a new assembly interface at the outside of the hexamer. Based on these findings, we suggest a structural model for how binding of RNA to N promotes the formation of helical RNPs, which are a characteristic hallmark of many negative-strand RNA viruses.