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Genetic analysis of an NTP-binding motif in poliovirus polypeptide 2C

Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0042-6822(92)90578-d
  • Biology
  • Engineering
  • Medicine


Abstract Poliovirus polypeptide 2C is a nonstructural protein involved in replication of the viral genome. Analysis of the primary amino acid sequence of 2C shows homology to a family of proteins which contain a nucleoside-triphosphate (NTP)-binding motif. This motif consists of elements “A” ( 2 5 hydrophobic stretch) G/AXXGXGKS/T, where X stands for any amino acid, and “B” ( 3 5 hydrophobic stretch) D or DD/E. To assess the significance of the consensus sequence in 2C, we have engineered point mutations into the most conserved residues in the A and B sites and tested their effect on viral RNA replication in vivo and translation in vitro. Whereas in vitro translation of synthetic RNAs carrying mutations in the NTP-binding motif showed efficient processing of all viral proteins, indistinguishable from that of the parental strain, transfection of the RNAs into HeLa cells did not give rise to infectious virus. No viral RNA replication could be detected in cells transfected with mutant RNAs. However, revenants to the wild-type genotype in the A and B sites were obtained which gave rise to wild-type RNA synthesis, but pseudorevertants or second-site suppressors were not observed. Thus, viral RNA synthesis is greatly reduced but not entirely abolished in cells transfected with mutant RNAs. These results strongly suggest a functional role for the proposed NTP-binding motif of 2C in RNA replication and proliferation of poliovirus.

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