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Virology. 1994 Nov 1;204(2):541-9.

Determinants of the p28 cleavage site recognized by the first papain-like cysteine proteinase of murine coronavirus.

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Molecular Biology Program, Loyola University of Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, Illinois 60153.


The murine coronavirus polymerase gene is 22 kb in length with the potential to encode a polyprotein of approximately 750 kDa. The polyprotein has been proposed to encode three proteinase domains which are responsible for the processing of the polyprotein into mature proteins. The proteolytic activity of the first proteinase domain has been characterized and resembles the papain family of cysteine proteinases. This proteinase domain acts autoproteolytically to cleave the amino terminal portion of the polymerase polyprotein, releasing a 28-kDa protein designated p28. To identify the cleavage site of this papain-like cysteine proteinase, we isolated the peptide adjacent to p28 and determined the amino terminus sequence by Edman degradation reaction. We report that proteolysis occurs between the Gly-247 and Val-248 dipeptide bond. To determine the role of the amino acid residues surrounding the cleavage site, we introduced a total of 42 site-specific mutations at the residues spanning the P5 to P3' positions and assessed the effects of the mutations on the processing of p28 in an in vitro transcription and translation system. The substitutions of Gly-247 at the P1 position or Arg-246 at the P2 position resulted in a dramatic decrease of proteolytic activity, and the mutations of Arg-243 at P5 position also led to considerable reduction in p28 cleavage. In contrast, the substitutions of amino acids Gly-244 (P4), Tyr-245 (P3), Val-248 (P1'), Lys-249 (P2'), and Pro-250 (P3') had little or no effect on the amount of p28 that was released. This work had identified Gly-247-Val-248 as the cleavage site for the release of p28, the amino-terminal protein of the murine coronavirus polymerase polyprotein. Additionally, we conclude that the Gly-247 and Arg-246 are the major determinants for the cleavage site recognition by the first papain-like cysteine proteinase of murine coronavirus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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