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J Virol. 2003 Jun;77(12):7143-9.

Flavivirus capsid is a dimeric alpha-helical protein.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA.


The capsid proteins of two flaviviruses, yellow fever virus and dengue virus, were expressed in Escherichia coli and purified to near homogeneity suitable for biochemical characterization and structure determination by nuclear magnetic resonance. The oligomeric properties of the capsid protein in solution were investigated. In the absence of nucleic acid, both proteins were predominantly dimeric in solution. Further analysis of both proteins with far-UV circular dichroism spectroscopy indicated that they were largely alpha-helical. The secondary structure elements of the dengue virus capsid were determined by chemical shift indexing of the sequence-specific backbone resonance assignments. The dengue virus capsid protein devoid of its C-terminal signal sequence was found to be composed of four alpha helices. The longest alpha helix, 20 residues, is located at the C terminus and has an amphipathic character. In contrast, the N terminus was found to be unstructured and could be removed without disrupting the structural integrity of the protein.

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