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Eur J Biochem. 1987 Jan 2;162(1):95-103.

Ribosomal protein phosphorylation in vivo and in vitro by vaccinia virus.


Ribosomal protein phosphorylation was investigated in Ehrlich ascites tumor cells infected with vaccinia virus (Copenhagen strain). After 90 min of simultaneous infection and 32P-labelling, ribosomal proteins Sa, S2 and S13 appear specifically phosphorylated as well as Sb/La, P1 and S6, which are also phosphorylated in control cells. Sa is an acidic protein, whose phosphorylation has not been observed previously. A kinetic study showed that S2 is phosphorylated very rapidly within 10 min after the beginning of infection and it is complete 1 h later. The phosphorylation of S13 begins after a lag time of about 1 h and is completed after about 2.5 h of infection. Moreover only one phosphate is incorporated into S13 on a serine residue while up to four phosphates are incorporated into S2, the first on a serine and the three following on threonine residues. In vivo experiments, carried out in the presence of cycloheximide and cordycepin, suggest a viral origin for the kinase involved in the phosphorylation of S2 and S13. Moreover, in vitro experiments demonstrated that the kinase associated with the viral cores is capable of phosphorylating S2 on a serine residue only. In our cell/virus system, no significant difference in S6 phosphorylation was detected, when compared to uninfected cells. It is concluded that the specific and efficient phosphorylation of three ribosomal proteins from the 40S ribosomal subunit correlate well with possible translational mechanisms ensuring the efficient expression of early and late genes of vaccinia virus. In the light of these and previous results [Person, A. and Beaud, G. (1986) J. Biol. Chem. 261, 8283-8289], a mechanism is proposed for the shut-off of host protein synthesis and the selective translation of mRNAs of viral origin.

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