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Protein Sci. 1998 Oct;7(10):2143-9.

Construction, expression, and characterization of a novel fully activated recombinant single-chain hepatitis C virus protease.

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Department of Structural Chemistry, Schering-Plough Research Institute, Kenilworth, New Jersey 07033, USA.


Efficient proteolytic processing of essential junctions of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) polyprotein requires a heterodimeric complex of the NS3 bifunctional protease/helicase and the NS4A accessory protein. A single-chain recombinant form of the protease has been constructed in which NS4A residues 21-32 (GSVVIVGRIILS) were fused in frame to the amino terminus of the NS3 protease domain (residues 3-181) through a tetrapeptide linker. The single-chain recombinant protease has been overexpressed as a soluble protein in E. coli and purified to homogeneity by a combination of metal chelate and size-exclusion chromatography. The single-chain recombinant protease domain shows full proteolytic activity cleaving the NS5A-5B synthetic peptide substrate, DTEDVVCCSMSYTWTGK with a Km and k(cat) of 20.0 +/- 2.0 microM and 9.6 +/- 2.0 min(-1), respectively; parameters identical to those of the authentic NS3(1-631)/NS4A(1-54) protein complex generated in eukaryotic cells (Sali DL et al., 1998, Biochemistry 37:3392-3401).

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