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Structural Disorder within the Measles Virus Nucleoprotein and Phosphoprotein

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In this review, we summarize the main experimental data showing the abundance of structural disorder within the measles virus (MeV) nucleoprotein (N) and phosphoprotein (P), and focus on the molecular mechanisms governing the disorder-to-order transition of the intrinsically disordered C-terminal domain of MeV N (NTAIL) upon binding to the C-terminal X domain of P (XD). The functional implications of structural disorder are discussed in light of the ability of disordered regions to establish a complex molecular partnership, thereby leading to a variety of biological effects, including tethering of the polymerase complex onto the nucleocapsid template, stimulation of viral transcription and replication, and virus assembly. We also discuss the ability of NTAIL to establish interactions with additional cellular co-factors, including the major inducible heat shock protein, which can modulate the strength of the NTAIL-XD interaction. Taking into account the promiscuity that typifies disordered regions, we propose that the main functional advantage of the abundance of disorder within viruses would reside in pleiotropy and genetic compaction, where a single gene would encode a single (regulatory) protein product able to establish multiple interactions via its disordered regions, and hence to exert multiple concomitant biological effects.

Keywords: Measles virus; induced folding; nucleocapsid; nucleoprotein; phosphoprotein; structural disorder

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2010

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  • Protein & Peptide Letters publishes short papers in all important aspects of protein and peptide research, including structural studies, recombinant expression, function, synthesis, enzymology, immunology, molecular modeling, drug design etc. Manuscripts must have a significant element of novelty, timeliness and urgency that merit rapid publication. Reports of crystallisation, and preliminary structure determinations of biologically important proteins are acceptable. Purely theoretical papers are also acceptable provided they provide new insight into the principles of protein/peptide structure and function.

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