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Virology. 1996 Feb 1;216(1):272-7.

Domains of the measles virus N protein required for binding to P protein and self-assembly.

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Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville 32610-0266, USA.


The nucleocapsid protein (N, 525 amino acids) of measles virus plays a central role in the replication of the viral genomic RNA. Its functions require interactions with itself and with other viral components. The N protein encapsidates genomic RNA, a function reflected in its ability to self-assemble into nucleocapsid-like particles in the absence of other viral proteins. The substrate for the packaging of nascent RNA during RNA replication is a complex between the N and phosphoprotein (P). The domains on the N protein that promote binding to P protein and self-assembly have been identified utilizing a series of N protein deletions. Two noncontiguous regions, amino acids 4-188 and 304-373 of N protein, are required for the formation of the soluble N-P complex, while deletion of amino acids 189-239 did not affect N-P binding. Amino acids 240-303 appear to be necessary for the stability of the protein. The N-terminal 398 amino acids are all required for the formation of organized nucleocapsid-like particles, since deletion of the central region from amino acids 189-373 completely abolished N-N interaction, and deletion of amino acids 4-188 and 374-492 caused the formation of unstructured aggregates.

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