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J Gen Virol. 2011 Sep;92(Pt 9):2088-92. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.033738-0. Epub 2011 Jun 8.

Deubiquitination activity associated with hepatitis E virus putative papain-like cysteine protease.

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National Institute of Virology, Microbial Containment Complex, Pashan, Pune 411021, India.


Hepatitis E virus (HEV) ORF1 protein (pORF1) contains methyltransferase (MetT), papain-like cysteine protease (PCP), RNA helicase (Hel) and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) domains. ORF1 sequence analysis showed two consensus LXGG cleavage sites at 664 and 1205. LXGG sequence is recognized by viral and cellular deubiquitinating enzymes. The protein encompassing the predicted MetT-PCP domains of HEV ORF1 was tested for deubiquitinating activity using fluorogenic substrates - ubiquitin-7-amino-4-methylcoumarin (AMC), IFN-stimulated gene 15 (ISG15)-AMC, Nedd8-AMC and SUMO-AMC. MetT-PCP cleaved all four substrates but processing of ISG15-AMC was more robust. There was no processing of the Hel and RdRp domains having the conserved (1205) LXGG site by the protein. MetT-PCP carried out deISGylation of the ISG15-conjugated cellular proteins, suggesting a possible role in combating cellular antiviral pathways.

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