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J Mol Biol. 2008 Sep 26;382(1):213-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2008.06.075. Epub 2008 Jul 3.

Subnanometer-resolution structures of the grass carp reovirus core and virion.

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Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, The University of California at Los Angeles, CA 90095-7364, USA.


Grass carp reovirus (GCRV) is a member of the Aquareovirus genus of the family Reoviridae, a large family of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) viruses infecting plants, insects, fishes and mammals. We report the first subnanometer-resolution three-dimensional structures of both GCRV core and virion by cryoelectron microscopy. These structures have allowed the delineation of interactions among the over 1000 molecules in this enormous macromolecular machine and a detailed comparison with other dsRNA viruses at the secondary-structure level. The GCRV core structure shows that the inner proteins have strong structural similarities with those of orthoreoviruses even at the level of secondary-structure elements, indicating that the structures involved in viral dsRNA interaction and transcription are highly conserved. In contrast, the level of similarity in structures decreases in the proteins situated in the outer layers of the virion. The proteins involved in host recognition and attachment exhibit the least similarities to other members of Reoviridae. Furthermore, in GCRV, the RNA-translocating turrets are in an open state and lack a counterpart for the sigma1 protein situated on top of the close turrets observed in mammalian orthoreovirus. Interestingly, the distribution and the organization of GCRV core proteins resemble those of the cytoplasmic polyhedrosis virus, a cypovirus and the structurally simplest member of the Reoviridae family. Our results suggest that GCRV occupies a unique structure niche between the simpler cypoviruses and the considerably more complex mammalian orthoreovirus, thus providing an important model for understanding the structural and functional conservation and diversity of this enormous family of dsRNA viruses.

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