The SR-rich motif in SARS-CoV nucleocapsid protein is important for virus replication

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The multimerization/self-interaction of viral proteins is an important step in the process of viral assembly and maturation. Our previous study indicated that the severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) nucleocapsid protein forms self-multimers through a serine-arginine (SR)-rich motif (SSRSSSRSRGNSR) by using a mammalian two-hybrid system. To determine the biological relevance of this motif, we constructed a SARS-CoV reverse genetic construct by using a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC)-based vector controlled by a T7 promoter; and subsequently deleted the SR-rich motif from the N gene. The mutated infectious clone showed reduced level of genome transcription and significantly reduced levels of the infectious virions. These results strongly suggest that the SR-rich motif is critical for effective virus replication.

L’homopolymérisation des protéines virales est une étape importante du processus d’assemblage et de maturation des virus. Des études antérieures réalisées avec un système de double-hybride mammifère nous ont indiqué que la protéine de la nucléocapside SARS-CoV forme des homopolymères par le biais d’un motif riche en arginines et en sérines (SSRSSSRSRGNSR). Afin de démontrer la pertinence biologique de ce motif, nous avons élaboré une construction SARS-CoV pour la génétique inverse en utilisant un vecteur dérivé d’un chromosome artificiel bactérien (BAC) placé sous le contrôle du promoteur T7, et nous avons supprimé le motif riche en SR du gène N. Le clone infectieux muté présente un niveau réduit de transcription génique et des niveaux significativement réduits de virions infectieux. Ces résultats suggèrent fortement que le motif riche en SR est critique à l’efficacité de la réplication virale.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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  • Published since 1954, this monthly journal contains new research in the field of microbiology including applied microbiology and biotechnology; microbial structure and function; fungi and other eucaryotic protists; infection and immunity; microbial ecology; physiology, metabolism and enzymology; and virology, genetics, and molecular biology. It also publishes review articles and notes on an occasional basis, contributed by recognized scientists worldwide.
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