Interactions between the IBV Nucleocapsid Protein and RNA Sequences Specific for the 3′ end of the Genome
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The infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) nucleocapsid protein was expressed as a fusion protein in bacteria. The coding sequence differed from the native protein only in the addition of six histidine residues at the amino terminus which were used for enrichment with a nickel affinity column. In gel shift assays, the mobility of labelled G RNA was decreased with increasing concentrations of the fusion protein. Competitive gel shift assays with labelled G RNA indicated that the protein interacted with relatively high avidities to several unlabelled RNAs representing sequences at the 3′ noncoding end of the IBV genome. Cache Valley virus (a bunyavirus) mRNA transcribed from the smaller segment cDNA also inhibited the interaction with IBV G RNA to the same extent as homologous unlabelled G RNA. In contrast, interactions of the fusion protein with a region from 99 to 249 bases from the 3’ terminus of the IBV genome and bovine liver RNA were relatively weak. The binding of IBV nucleocapsid protein with RNA probably requires specific sequences and/or structures that are present at a number of sites on the genome, and may represent a common mechanism used by similar viral proteins whose functions depend on binding to RNA.
KeywordsFusion Protein Infectious Bronchitis Virus Nucleocapsid Protein High Avidity Mouse Hepatitis Virus
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