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Nucleic Acids Res. 1994 Mar 11;22(5):780-6.

Interactions between Sindbis virus RNAs and a 68 amino acid derivative of the viral capsid protein further defines the capsid binding site.

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Department of Molecular Microbiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO 63110-1093.


In previous studies of encapsidation of Sindbis virus RNA, we identified a 570nt fragment (nt 684-1253) from the 12 kb genome that binds to the viral capsid protein with specificity and is required for packaging of Sindbis virus defective interfering RNAs. We now show that the capsid binding activity resides in a highly structured 132nt fragment (nt 945-1076). We had also demonstrated that a 68 amino acid peptide derived from the capsid protein retained most of the binding activity of the original protein and have now developed an RNA mobility shift assay with this peptide fused to glutathione-S-transferase. We have used this assay in conjunction with the original assay in which the intact capsid protein was immobilized on nitrocellulose to analyze more extensive deletions in the 132-mer. All of the deletions led to a reduction in binding, but the binding of a 5' 67-mer was enhanced by the addition of nonspecific flanking sequences. This result suggests that the stability of a particular structure within the 132nt sequence may be important for capsid recognition.

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