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J Virol Methods. 2001 Mar;92(1):37-44.

Expression and purification of enzymatically active recombinant RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (NS5) of the flavivirus Kunjin.

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Sir Albert Sakzewski Virus Research Centre, Royal Children's Hospital, Brisbane, Australia.


The NS5 protein of the flavivirus Kunjin (KUN) contains conserved sequence motifs characteristic of RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) activity. To investigate this activity in vitro, recombinant NS5 proteins with C-terminal (NS5CHis) and N-terminal (NS5NHis) hexahistidine tags were produced in baculovirus-infected insect cells and purified to near homogeneity by nickel affinity chromatography. Purified NS5CHis exhibited RdRp activity with both specific (9 kb KUN replicon) and non-specific (8.3 kb Semliki Forest virus replicon) RNA templates; this activity did not require the presence of additional viral and/or cellular cofactors. RdRp activity of purified NS5NHis protein was reduced in comparison to NS5CHis, while purified NS5NHis incorporating a GDD-->GVD mutation within the polymerase active site (NS5GVD) lacked RdRp activity. RNase A digestion of the RdRp reaction products indicated that they were double-stranded and of a similar size to the KUN replicative form produced in Vero cells, thus demonstrating that the KUN NS5 protein has an intrinsic, albeit low and non-specific RdRp activity in vitro, similar to that reported for recombinant RdRp of other flaviviruses. However, in contrast to RNA polymerases of other Flavivirus species, purified KUN NS5 polymerase produced a single, full-length replicon RNA product, thus demonstrating efficient processivity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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