Send to

Choose Destination
Virology. 1998 Mar 15;242(2):288-302.

Processing of the coronavirus MHV-JHM polymerase polyprotein: identification of precursors and proteolytic products spanning 400 kilodaltons of ORF1a.

Author information

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Loyola University of Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, Illinois 60153, USA.


The replicase of mouse hepatitis virus strain JHM (MHV-JHM) is encoded by two overlapping open reading frames, ORF1a and ORF1b, which are translated to produce a 750-kDa precursor polyprotein. The polyprotein is proposed to be processed by viral proteinases to generate the functional replicase complex. To date, only the MHV-JHM amino-terminal proteins p28 and p72, which is processed to p65, have been identified. To further elucidate the biogenesis of the MHV-JHM replicase, we cloned and expressed five regions of ORF1a in bacteria and prepared rabbit antisera to each region. Using the immune sera to immunoprecipitate radiolabeled proteins from MHV-JHM infected cells, we determined that the MHV-JHM ORF1a is initially processed to generate p28, p72, p250, and p150. Pulse-chase analysis revealed that these intermediates are further processed to generate p65, p210, p40, p27, the MHV 3C-like proteinase, and p15. A putative replicase complex consisting of p250, p210, p40, p150, and a large protein (> 300 kDa) coprecipitate from infected cells disrupted with NP-40, indicating that these proteins are closely associated even after initial proteolytic processing. Immunofluorescence studies revealed punctate labeling of ORF1a proteins in the perinuclear region of infected cells, consistent with a membrane-association of the replicase complex. Furthermore, in vitro transcription/translation studies of the MHV-JHM 3Cpro and flanking hydrophobic domains confirm that 3C protease activity is significantly enhanced in the presence of canine microsomal membranes. Overall, our results demonstrate that the MHV-JHM ORF1a polyprotein: (1) is processed into more than 10 protein intermediates and products, (2) requires membranes for efficient biogenesis, and (3) is detected in discrete membranous regions in the cytoplasm of infected cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center