Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Sep 4;109(36):14634-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1208096109. Epub 2012 Aug 20.

An RNA virus hijacks an incognito function of a DNA repair enzyme.

Author information

Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, School of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA.


A previously described mammalian cell activity, called VPg unlinkase, specifically cleaves a unique protein-RNA covalent linkage generated during the viral genomic RNA replication steps of a picornavirus infection. For over three decades, the identity of this cellular activity and its normal role in the uninfected cell had remained elusive. Here we report the purification and identification of VPg unlinkase as the DNA repair enzyme, 5'-tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase-2 (TDP2). Our data show that VPg unlinkase activity in different mammalian cell lines correlates with their differential expression of TDP2. Furthermore, we show that recombinant TDP2 can cleave the protein-RNA linkage generated by different picornaviruses without impairing the integrity of viral RNA. Our results reveal a unique RNA repair-like function for TDP2 and suggest an unusual role in host-pathogen interactions for this cellular enzyme. On the basis of the identification of TDP2 as a potential antiviral target, our findings may lead to the development of universal therapeutics to treat the millions of individuals afflicted annually with diseases caused by picornaviruses, including myocarditis, aseptic meningitis, encephalitis, hepatitis, and the common cold.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center