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Virology. 2007 Nov 25;368(2):249-61. Epub 2007 Jul 31.

A winged-helix protein from Sulfolobus turreted icosahedral virus points toward stabilizing disulfide bonds in the intracellular proteins of a hyperthermophilic virus.

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Thermal Biology Institute, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717, USA.


Sulfolobus turreted icosahedral virus (STIV) was the first non-tailed icosahedral virus to be isolated from an archaeal host. Like other archaeal viruses, its 37 open reading frames generally lack sequence similarity to genes with known function. The roles of the gene products in this and other archaeal viruses are thus largely unknown. However, a protein's three-dimensional structure may provide functional and evolutionary insight in cases of minimal sequence similarity. In this vein, the structure of STIV F93 reveals a homodimer with strong similarity to the winged-helix family of DNA-binding proteins. Importantly, an interchain disulfide bond is found at the dimer interface, prompting analysis of the cysteine distribution in the putative intracellular proteins of the viral proteome. The analysis suggests that intracellular disulfide bonds are common in cellular STIV proteins, where they enhance the thermostability of the viral proteome.

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