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Structure. 2002 Dec;10(12):1627-36.

Atomic resolution structure of Moloney murine leukemia virus matrix protein and its relationship to other retroviral matrix proteins.

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Division of Structural Biology, The Henry Wellcome Building for Genomic Medicine, Oxford University, Roosevelt Drive, Oxford OX3 7BN, United Kingdom.


Matrix proteins associated with the viral membrane are important in the formation of the viral particle and in virus maturation. The 1.0 A crystal structure of the ecotropic Gammaretrovirus Moloney murine leukemia virus (M-MuLV) matrix protein reveals the conserved topology of other retroviral matrix proteins, despite undetectable sequence similarity. The N terminus (normally myristylated) is exposed and adjacent to a basic surface patch, features likely to contribute to membrane binding. The four proteins in the asymmetric unit make varied contacts. The M-MuLV matrix structure is intermediate, between those of the lentiviruses and other retroviruses. The protein fold appears to be maintained, in part, by the conservation of side chain packing, which may provide a useful tool for searching for weak distant similarities in proteins.

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