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Virology. 2004 Oct 25;328(2):208-18.

The RNA helicase, nucleotide 5'-triphosphatase, and RNA 5'-triphosphatase activities of Dengue virus protein NS3 are Mg2+-dependent and require a functional Walker B motif in the helicase catalytic core.

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Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Universités d'Aix-Marseille I et II, UMR 6098, Architecture et Fonction des Macromolécules Biologiques, ESIL-Case 925, 13288 Marseille cedex 9, France.


The nonstructural protein 3 (NS3) of Dengue virus (DV) is a multifunctional enzyme carrying activities involved in viral RNA replication and capping: helicase, nucleoside 5'-triphosphatase (NTPase), and RNA 5'-triphosphatase (RTPase). Here, a 54-kDa C-terminal domain of NS3 (DeltaNS3) bearing all three activities was expressed as a recombinant protein. Structure-based sequence analysis in comparison with Hepatitis C virus (HCV) helicase indicates the presence of a HCV-helicase-like catalytic core domain in the N-terminal part of DeltaNS3, whereas the C-terminal part seems to be different. In this report, we show that the RTPase activity of DeltaNS3 is Mg2+-dependent as are both helicase and NTPase activities. Mutational analysis shows that the RTPase activity requires an intact NTPase/helicase Walker B motif in the helicase core, consistent with the fact that such motifs are involved in the coordination of Mg2+. The R513A substitution in the C-terminal domain of DeltaNS3 abrogates helicase activity and strongly diminishes RTPase activity, indicating that both activities are functionally coupled. DV RTPase seems to belong to a new class of Mg2+-dependent RTPases, which use the active center of the helicase/NTPase catalytic core in conjunction with elements in the C-terminal domain.

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