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Gene. 1994 Aug 5;145(2):221-6.

Processing of hepatitis C viral polyprotein in Escherichia coli.

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Virology Division, National Cancer Center Research Institute, Tokyo, Japan.


Two proteinase activities, encoded by hepatitis C virus (HCV), Cpro-1 and Cpro-2. Cpro-1 and Cpro-2 appear to process the precursor polyprotein from which they originate. Mutant HCV polypeptides containing the region for these proteinases were produced in Escherichia coli as fusion proteins. The N- and C-terminal ends of the HCV polypeptides were fused with the E. coli maltose-binding protein (MBP) and E. coli dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), respectively. The proteinase activities cleaved the fusion polypeptides by the same processing pathway used in eukaryotic protein production systems. The N-terminal amino acid (aa) sequences of the processed fusion proteins were determined. A comparison of those N-terminal sequences with the aa sequence of the HCV precursor polyprotein showed that the N-terminal and C-terminal cleavage sites of p70(NS3), one of the HCV nonstructural (NS) proteins, were the same as those identified in other processing studies: cleavages were estimated to be between aa 1026 and 1027 and between aa 1657 and 1658 of the HCV precursor protein, which are known to be cleaved by Cpro-1 and Cpro-2, respectively. Cpro-1 and Cpro-2 both functioned in E. coli and possessed authentic characteristic features.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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