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1.  Functional Specialization and Evolution of Leader Proteinases in the Family Closteroviridae 
Journal of Virology  2001;75(24):12153-12160.
Members of the Closteroviridae and Potyviridae families of the plant positive-strand RNA viruses encode one or two papain-like leader proteinases. In addition to a C-terminal proteolytic domain, each of these proteinases possesses a nonproteolytic N-terminal domain. We compared functions of the several leader proteinases using a gene swapping approach. The leader proteinase (L-Pro) of Beet yellows virus (BYV; a closterovirus) was replaced with L1 or L2 proteinases of Citrus tristeza virus (CTV; another closterovirus), P-Pro proteinase of Lettuce infectious yellows virus (LIYV; a crinivirus), and HC-Pro proteinase of Tobacco etch virus (a potyvirus). Each foreign proteinase efficiently processed the chimeric BYV polyprotein in vitro. However, only L1 and P-Pro, not L2 and HC-Pro, were able to rescue the amplification of the chimeric BYV variants. The combined expression of L1 and L2 resulted in an increased RNA accumulation compared to that of the parental BYV. Remarkably, this L1-L2 chimera exhibited reduced invasiveness and inability to move from cell to cell. Similar analyses of the BYV hybrids, in which only the papain-like domain of L-Pro was replaced with those derived from L1, L2, P-Pro, and HC-Pro, also revealed functional specialization of these domains. In subcellular-localization experiments, distinct patterns were observed for the leader proteinases of BYV, CTV, and LIYV. Taken together, these results demonstrated that, in addition to a common proteolytic activity, the leader proteinases of closteroviruses possess specialized functions in virus RNA amplification, virus invasion, and cell-to-cell movement. The phylogenetic analysis suggested that functionally distinct L1 and L2 of CTV originated by a gene duplication event.
PMCID: PMC116111  PMID: 11711606
2.  Genes Required for Replication of the 15.5-Kilobase RNA Genome of a Plant Closterovirus 
Journal of Virology  1998;72(7):5870-5876.
A full-length cDNA clone of beet yellows closterovirus (BYV) was engineered and used to map functions involved in the replication of the viral RNA genome and subgenomic RNA formation. Among 10 open reading frames (ORFs) present in BYV, ORFs 1a and 1b suffice for RNA replication and transcription. The proteins encoded in these ORFs harbor putative methyltransferase, RNA helicase, and RNA polymerase domains common to Sindbis virus-like viruses and a large interdomain region that is unique to closteroviruses. The papain-like leader proteinase (L-Pro) encoded in the 5′-proximal region of ORF 1a was found to have a dual function in genome amplification. First, the autocatalytic cleavage between L-Pro and the remainder of the ORF 1a product was essential for replication of RNA. Second, an additional L-Pro function that was separable from proteolytic activity was required for efficient RNA accumulation. The deletion of a large, ∼5.6-kb, 3′-terminal region coding for a 6-kDa hydrophobic protein, an HSP70 homolog, a 64-kDa protein, minor and major capsid proteins, a 20-kDa protein, and a 21-kDa protein (p21) resulted in replication-competent RNA. However, examination of mutants with replacements of start codons in each of these seven 3′-terminal ORFs revealed that p21 functions as an enhancer of genome amplification. The intriguing analogies between the genome organization and replicational requirements of plant closteroviruses and animal coronavirus-like viruses are discussed.
PMCID: PMC110390  PMID: 9621048
3.  The 64-Kilodalton Capsid Protein Homolog of Beet Yellows Virus Is Required for Assembly of Virion Tails 
Journal of Virology  2003;77(4):2377-2384.
The filamentous virion of the closterovirus Beet yellows virus (BYV) consists of a long body formed by the major capsid protein (CP) and a short tail composed of the minor capsid protein (CPm) and the virus-encoded Hsp70 homolog. By using nano-liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry and biochemical analyses, we show here that the BYV 64-kDa protein (p64) is the fourth integral component of BYV virions. The N-terminal domain of p64 is exposed at the virion surface and is accessible to antibodies and mild trypsin digestion. In contrast, the C-terminal domain is embedded in the virion and is inaccessible to antibodies or trypsin. The C-terminal domain of p64 is shown to be homologous to CP and CPm. Mutation of the signature motifs of capsid proteins of filamentous RNA viruses in p64 results in the formation of tailless virions, which are unable to move from cell to cell. These results reveal the dual function of p64 in tail assembly and BYV motility and support the concept of the virion tail as a specialized device for BYV cell-to-cell movement.
PMCID: PMC141117  PMID: 12551975
4.  Interaction between Long-Distance Transport Factor and Hsp70-Related Movement Protein of Beet Yellows Virus 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(21):11003-11011.
Systemic spread of viruses in plants involves local movement from cell to cell and long-distance transport through the vascular system. The cell-to-cell movement of the Beet yellows virus (BYV) is mediated by a movement protein that is an Hsp70 homolog (Hsp70h). This protein is required for the assembly of movement-competent virions that incorporate Hsp70h. By using the yeast two-hybrid system, in vitro coimmunoprecipitation, and in planta coexpression approaches, we show here that the Hsp70h interacts with a 20-kDa BYV protein (p20). We further demonstrate that p20 is associated with the virions presumably via binding to Hsp70h. Genetic and immunochemical analyses indicate that p20 is dispensable for assembly and cell-to-cell movement of BYV but is required for the long-distance transport of virus through the phloem. These results reveal a novel activity for the Hsp70h that provides a molecular link between the local and systemic spread of a plant virus by docking a long-distance transport factor to virions.
PMCID: PMC136651  PMID: 12368343
5.  Leader Proteinase of Beet Yellows Virus Functions in Long-Distance Transport 
Journal of Virology  2003;77(5):2843-2849.
The 66-kDa leader proteinase (L-Pro) of the Beet yellows virus (BYV) possesses a nonconserved N-terminal domain and a conserved, papain-like C-terminal domain. Previous work revealed that the N-terminal domain functions in RNA amplification, whereas the C-terminal domain is required for autoproteolysis. Alanine-scanning mutagenesis was applied to complete the functional analysis of L-Pro throughout the virus life cycle. This analysis indicated that the C-terminal domain of L-Pro, in addition to being required for proteolysis, also functions in RNA amplification and that these two functions are genetically separable. Examination of the role of L-Pro in BYV cell-to-cell movement revealed that none of the 20 examined replication-competent mutants was movement defective. In contrast, six of the L-Pro mutations affected the long-distance transport of BYV to various degrees, whereas three mutations completely abolished the transport. Because these mutations were located throughout the protein molecule, both domains of L-Pro function in virus transport. We conclude that in addition to previously identified functions of L-Pro, it also serves as the BYV long-distance transport factor.
PMCID: PMC149760  PMID: 12584307
6.  Beet yellows virus replicase and replicative compartments: parallels with other RNA viruses 
In eukaryotic virus systems, infection leads to induction of membranous compartments in which replication occurs. Virus-encoded subunits of the replication complex mediate its interaction with membranes. As replication platforms, RNA viruses use the cytoplasmic surfaces of different membrane compartments, e.g., endoplasmic reticulum (ER), Golgi, endo/lysosomes, mitochondria, chloroplasts, and peroxisomes. Closterovirus infections are accompanied by formation of multivesicular complexes from cell membranes of ER or mitochondrial origin. So far the mechanisms for vesicles formation have been obscure. In the replication-associated 1a polyprotein of Beet yellows virus (BYV) and other closteroviruses, the region between the methyltransferase and helicase domains (1a central region (CR), 1a CR) is marginally conserved. Computer-assisted analysis predicts several putative membrane-binding domains in the BYV 1a CR. Transient expression of a hydrophobic segment (referred to here as CR-2) of the BYV 1a in Nicotiana benthamiana led to reorganization of the ER and formation of ~1-μm mobile globules. We propose that the CR-2 may be involved in the formation of multivesicular complexes in BYV-infected cells. This provides analogy with membrane-associated proteins mediating the build-up of “virus factories” in cells infected with diverse positive-strand RNA viruses (alpha-like viruses, picorna-like viruses, flaviviruses, and nidoviruses) and negative-strand RNA viruses (bunyaviruses).
PMCID: PMC3589766  PMID: 23508802
RNA virus replication; membrane vesicles; virus replication factory; endoplasmic reticulum modification; intracellular traffic
7.  Class VIII Myosins Are Required for Plasmodesmatal Localization of a Closterovirus Hsp70 Homolog▿  
Journal of Virology  2008;82(6):2836-2843.
The Hsp70 homolog (Hsp70h) of Beet yellows virus (BYV) functions in virion assembly and cell-to-cell movement and is autonomously targeted to plasmodesmata in association with the actomyosin motility system (A. I. Prokhnevsky, V. V. Peremyslov, and V. V. Dolja, J. Virol. 79:14421-14428, 2005). Myosins are a diverse category of molecular motors that possess a motor domain and a tail domain involved in cargo binding. Plants have two classes of myosins, VIII and XI, whose specific functions are poorly understood. We used dominant negative inhibition to identify myosins required for Hsp70h localization to plasmodesmata. Six full-length myosin cDNAs from the BYV host plant Nicotiana benthamiana were sequenced and shown to encode apparent orthologs of the Arabidopsis thaliana myosins VIII-1, VIII-2, VIII-B, XI-2, XI-F, and XI-K. We found that the ectopic expression of the tail domains of each of the class VIII, but not the class XI, myosins inhibited the plasmodesmatal localization of Hsp70h. In contrast, the overexpression of the motor domains or the entire molecules of the class VIII myosins did not affect Hsp70h targeting. Further mapping revealed that the minimal cargo-binding part of the myosin VIII tails was both essential and sufficient for the inhibition of the proper Hsp70h localization. Interestingly, plasmodesmatal localization of the Tobacco mosaic virus movement protein and Arabidopsis protein RGP2 was not affected by myosin VIII tail overexpression. Collectively, our data implicate class VIII myosins in protein delivery to plasmodesmata and suggest that more than one mechanism of such delivery exist in plants.
PMCID: PMC2258991  PMID: 18199648
8.  Regulation of nuclear transport of a plant potyvirus protein by autoproteolysis. 
Journal of Virology  1992;66(9):5662-5666.
The NIa proteinase encoded by tobacco etch potyvirus catalyzes six processing events, three of which occur by an autoproteolytic mechanism. Autoproteolysis is necessary to cleave the boundaries of both NIa and the 6-kDa protein, which is located adjacent to the N terminus of NIa in the viral polyprotein. As a consequence, NIa may exist in a free form or in a transient polyprotein form containing the 6-kDa protein. While the majority of NIa molecules localize to the nuclei of infected cells, a fraction of the NIa pool is attached covalently to the 5' terminus of genomic RNA in the cytoplasm. To determine whether the presence of the 6-kDa protein affects the nuclear transport properties of NIa, we have generated transgenic plants that express genes encoding a reporter enzyme, beta-glucuronidase (GUS), fused to NIa or NIa-containing polyproteins. The NIa/GUS fusion protein was detected by histochemical analysis in the nucleus. Similarly, an NIa/GUS fusion protein that arose by autoproteolysis of a 6-kDa/NIa/GUS polyprotein was found in the nucleus. In contrast, fusion protein consisting of 6-kDa/NIa/GUS, which failed to undergo proteolysis because of the presence of a Cys-to-Ala substitution in the proteolytic domain of NIa, was detected in the cytoplasm. The inhibition of NIa-mediated nuclear transport was not due to the Cys-to-Ala substitution, since this alteration had no effect on translocation in the absence of the 6-kDa protein. These results indicate that the 6-kDa protein impedes nuclear localization of NIa and suggest that subcellular transport of NIa may be regulated by autoproteolysis.
PMCID: PMC289134  PMID: 1501298
9.  Crinivirus replication and host interactions 
Criniviruses comprise one of the genera within the family Closteroviridae. Members in this family are restricted to the phloem and rely on whitefly vectors of the genera Bemisia and/or Trialeurodes for plant-to-plant transmission. All criniviruses have bipartite, positive-sense single-stranded RNA genomes, although there is an unconfirmed report of one having a tripartite genome. Lettuce infectious yellows virus (LIYV) is the type species of the genus, the best studied so far of the criniviruses and the first for which a reverse genetics system was developed. LIYV RNA 1 encodes for proteins predicted to be involved in replication, and alone is competent for replication in protoplasts. Replication results in accumulation of cytoplasmic vesiculated membranous structures which are characteristic of most studied members of the Closteroviridae. These membranous structures, often referred to as Beet yellows virus (BYV)-type vesicles, are likely sites of RNA replication. LIYV RNA 2 is replicated in trans when co-infecting cells with RNA 1, but is temporally delayed relative to RNA 1. Efficient RNA 2 replication also is dependent on the RNA 1-encoded RNA-binding protein, P34. No LIYV RNA 2-encoded proteins have been shown to affect RNA replication, but at least four, CP (major coat protein), CPm (minor coat protein), Hsp70h, and P59 are virion structural components and CPm is a determinant of whitefly transmissibility. Roles of other LIYV RNA 2-encoded proteins are largely as yet unknown, but P26 is a non-virion protein that accumulates in cells as characteristic plasmalemma deposits which in plants are localized within phloem parenchyma and companion cells over plasmodesmata connections to sieve elements. The two remaining crinivirus-conserved RNA 2-encoded proteins are P5 and P9. P5 is 39 amino acid protein and is encoded at the 5′ end of RNA 2 as ORF 1 and is part of the hallmark closterovirus gene array. The orthologous gene in BYV has been shown to play a role in cell-to-cell movement and indicated to be localized to the endoplasmic reticulum as a Type III integral membrane protein. The other small protein, P9, is encoded by ORF 4 overlaps with ORF 3 that encodes the structural protein, P59. P9 seems to be unique to viruses in the genus Crinivirus, as no similar protein has been detected in viruses of the other two genera of the Closteroviridae.
PMCID: PMC3657685  PMID: 23730299
phloem-limited; plasmalemma deposit; whitefly vector; Crinivirus; quintuple gene block
10.  Evidence that the potyvirus P1 proteinase functions in trans as an accessory factor for genome amplification. 
Journal of Virology  1995;69(6):3668-3674.
The tobacco etch potyvirus (TEV) polyprotein is proteolytically processed by three viral proteinases (NIa, HC-Pro, and P1). While the NIa and HC-Pro proteinases each provide multiple functions essential for viral infectivity, the role of the P1 proteinase beyond its autoproteolytic activity is understood poorly. To determine if P1 is necessary for genome amplification and/or virus movement from cell to cell, a mutant lacking the entire P1 coding region (delta P1 mutant) was produced with a modified TEV strain (TEV-GUS) expressing beta-glucuronidase (GUS) as a reporter, and its replication and movement phenotypes were assayed in tobacco protoplasts and plants. The delta P1 mutant accumulated in protoplasts to approximately 2 to 3% the level of parental TEV-GUS, indicating that the P1 protein may contribute to but is not strictly required for viral RNA amplification. The delta P1 mutant was capable of cell-to-cell and systemic (leaf-to-leaf) movement in plants but at reduced rates compared with parental virus. This is in contrast to the S256A mutant, which encodes a processing-defective P1 proteinase and which was nonviable in plants. Both delta P1 and S256A mutants were complemented by P1 proteinase expressed in a transgenic host. In transgenic protoplasts, genome amplification of the delta P1 mutant relative to parental virus was stimulated five- to sixfold. In transgenic plants, the level of accumulation of the delta P1 mutant was stimulated, although the rate of cell-to-cell movement was the same as in nontransgenic plants. Also, the S256A mutant was capable of replication and systemic infection in P1-expressing transgenic plants. These data suggest that, in addition to providing essential processing activity, the P1 proteinase functions in trans to stimulate genome amplification.
PMCID: PMC189082  PMID: 7745715
11.  Internal cleavage and trans-proteolytic activities of the VPg-proteinase (NIa) of tobacco etch potyvirus in vivo. 
Journal of Virology  1993;67(12):6995-7000.
The NIa protein of plant potyviruses is a bifunctional protein containing an N-terminal VPg domain and a C-terminal proteinase region. The majority of tobacco etch potyvirus (TEV) NIa molecules are localized to the nucleus of infected cells, although a proportion of NIa is attached covalently as VPg to viral RNA in the cytoplasm. A suboptimal cleavage site that is recognized by the NIa proteinase is located between the two domains. This site was found to be utilized in the VPg-associated, but not the nuclear, pool of NIa. A mutation converting Glu-189 to Leu at the P1 position of the processing site inhibited internal cleavage. Introduction of this mutation into TEV-GUS, an engineered variant of TEV that expresses a reporter protein (beta-glucuronidase [GUS]) fused to the N terminus of the helper component-proteinase (HC-Pro), rendered the virus replication defective in tobacco protoplasts. Site-specific reversion of the mutant internal processing site to the wild-type sequence restored virus viability. In addition, the trans-processing activity of NIa proteinase was tested in vivo after introduction of an artificial cleavage site between the GUS and HC-Pro sequences in the cytoplasmic GUS/HC-Pro polyprotein encoded by TEV-GUS. The novel site was recognized and processed in plants infected by the engineered virus, indicating the presence of excess NIa processing capacity in the cytoplasm. The potential roles of internal NIa processing in TEV-infected cells are discussed.
PMCID: PMC238159  PMID: 8230423
12.  Leader Proteinase of the Beet Yellows Closterovirus: Mutation Analysis of the Function in Genome Amplification 
Journal of Virology  2000;74(20):9766-9770.
The beet yellows closterovirus leader proteinase (L-Pro) possesses a C-terminal proteinase domain and a nonproteolytic N-terminal domain. It was found that although L-Pro is not essential for basal-level replication, deletion of its N-terminal domain resulted in a 1,000-fold reduction in RNA accumulation. Mutagenic analysis of the N-terminal domain revealed its structural flexibility except for the 54-codon-long, 5′-terminal element in the corresponding open reading frame that is critical for efficient RNA amplification at both RNA and protein levels.
PMCID: PMC112412  PMID: 11000252
13.  Autocatalytic processing of the potyvirus helper component proteinase in Escherichia coli and in vitro. 
Journal of Virology  1989;63(10):4459-4463.
The virus-encoded proteins of tobacco etch virus (TEV), a plant potyvirus, arise by proteolytic processing of a large polyprotein precursor. The TEV genome codes for two proteinases, a 49-kilodalton proteinase and helper component proteinase (HC-Pro), which cleave the polyprotein at specific sites. The only known cleavage event catalyzed by HC-Pro occurs at the HC-Pro carboxyl terminus. The proteolytic activity of HC-Pro was analyzed by expression of the enzyme in bacterial and cell-free systems. The carboxyl-terminal domain of HC-Pro exhibited proteolytic activity in Escherichia coli with a processing half-time of approximately 100 s. The processing kinetics of HC-Pro expressed in vitro by cell-free transcription and translation was variable, depending on the presence or absence of TEV polypeptide sequences at the amino terminus of the proteolytic domain. Cleavage of the HC-Pro carboxyl terminus appeared to proceed exclusively by an autocatalytic mechanism; the proteinase synthesized in vitro exhibited little or no proteolytic activity when reacted with the HC-Pro cleavage site in trans or biomolecular reactions.
PMCID: PMC251070  PMID: 2674480
14.  Molecular Basis for Mitochondrial Localization of Viral Particles during Beet Necrotic Yellow Vein Virus Infection 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(15):9991-10002.
During infection, Beet necrotic yellow vein virus (BNYVV) particles localize transiently to the cytosolic surfaces of mitochondria. To understand the molecular basis and significance of this localization, we analyzed the targeting and membrane insertion properties of the viral proteins. ORF1 of BNYVV RNA-2 encodes the 21-kDa major coat protein, while ORF2 codes for a 75-kDa minor coat protein (P75) by readthrough of the ORF1 stop codon. Bioinformatic analysis highlighted a putative mitochondrial targeting sequence (MTS) as well as a major (TM1) and two minor (TM3 and TM4) transmembrane regions in the N-terminal part of the P75 readthrough domain. Deletion and gain-of-function analyses based on the localization of green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusions showed that the MTS was able to direct a reporter protein to mitochondria but that the protein was not persistently anchored to the organelles. GFP fused either to MTS and TM1 or to MTS and TM3-TM4 efficiently and specifically associated with mitochondria in vivo. The actual role of the individual domains in the interaction with the mitochondria seemed to be determined by the folding of P75. Anchoring assays to the outer membranes of isolated mitochondria, together with in vivo data, suggest that the TM3-TM4 domain is the membrane anchor in the context of full-length P75. All of the domains involved in mitochondrial targeting and anchoring were also indispensable for encapsidation, suggesting that the assembly of BNYVV particles occurs on mitochondria. Further data show that virions are subsequently released from mitochondria and accumulate in the cytosol.
PMCID: PMC1181617  PMID: 16014959
15.  Analysis of astrovirus serotype 1 RNA, identification of the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase motif, and expression of a viral structural protein. 
Journal of Virology  1994;68(1):77-83.
We report the results from sequence analysis and expression studies of the gastroenteritis agent astrovirus serotype 1. We have cloned and sequenced 5,944 nucleotides (nt) of the estimated 7.2-kb RNA genome and have identified three open reading frames (ORFs). ORF-3, at the 3' end, is 2,361 nt in length and is fully encoded in both the genomic and subgenomic viral RNAs. Expression of ORF-3 in vitro yields an 87-kDa protein that is immunoprecipitated with a monoclonal antibody specific for viral capsids. This protein comigrates with an authentic 87-kDa astrovirus protein immunoprecipitated from infected cells, indicating that this region encodes a viral structural protein. The adjacent upstream ORF (ORF-2) is 1,557 nt in length and contains a viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase motif. The viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase motifs from four astrovirus serotypes are compared. Partial sequence (2,018 nt) of the most 5' ORF (ORF-1) reveals a 3C-like serine protease motif. The ORF-1 sequence is incomplete. These results indicate that the astrovirus genome is organized with nonstructural proteins encoded at the 5' end and structural proteins at the 3' end. ORF-2 has no start methionine and is in the -1 frame compared with ORF-1. We present sequence evidence for a ribosomal frameshift mechanism for expression of the viral polymerase.
PMCID: PMC236266  PMID: 8254779
16.  Proteolytic processing of the coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus 1a polyprotein: identification of a 10-kilodalton polypeptide and determination of its cleavage sites. 
Journal of Virology  1997;71(3):1814-1820.
Proteolytic processing of the polyprotein encoded by mRNA 1 is an essential step in coronavirus RNA replication and gene expression. We have previously reported that an open reading frame (ORF) 1a-specific proteinase of the picornavirus 3C proteinase group is involved in processing of the coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) 1a/1b polyprotein, leading to the formation of a mature viral protein of 100 kDa. We report here the identification of a novel 10-kDa polypeptide and the involvement of the 3C-like proteinase in processing of the ORF 1a polyprotein to produce the 10-kDa protein species. By using a region-specific antiserum, V47, raised against a bacterial-viral fusion protein containing IBV sequence encoded between nucleotides 11488 and 12600, the 10-kDa polypeptide was detected in lysates from both IBV-infected and plasmid DNA-transfected Vero cells. Coexpression, deletion, and mutagenesis studies showed that this novel polypeptide was encoded by ORF 1a from nucleotide 11545 to 11878 and was cleaved from the 1a polyprotein by the 3C-like proteinase domain. Evidence presented suggested that a previously predicted Q-S (Q3783 S3784) dipeptide bond encoded by ORF 1a between nucleotides 11875 and 11880 was responsible for the release of the C terminus of the 10-kDa polypeptide and that a novel Q-N (Q3672 N3673) dipeptide bond encoded between nucleotides 11542 and 11547 was responsible for the release of the N terminus of the 10-kDa polypeptide.
PMCID: PMC191251  PMID: 9032311
17.  The Crithidia fasciculata RNH1 gene encodes both nuclear and mitochondrial isoforms of RNase H 
Nucleic Acids Research  2001;29(3):725-731.
The Crithidia fasciculata RNH1 gene encodes an RNase H, an enzyme that specifically degrades the RNA strand of RNA–DNA hybrids. The RNH1 gene is contained within an open reading frame (ORF) predicted to encode a protein of 53.7 kDa. Previous work has shown that RNH1 expresses two proteins: a 38 kDa protein and a 45 kDa protein which is enriched in kinetoplast extracts. Epitope tagging of the C-terminus of the RNH1 gene results in localization of the protein to both the kinetoplast and the nucleus. Translation of the ORF beginning at the second in-frame methionine codon predicts a protein of 38 kDa. Insertion of two tandem stop codons between the first ATG codon and the second in-frame ATG codon of the ORF results in expression of only the 38 kDa protein and the protein localizes specifically to the nucleus. Mutation of the second methionine codon to a valine codon prevents expression of the 38 kDa protein and results in exclusive production of the 45 kDa protein and localization of the protein only in the kinetoplast. These results suggest that the kinetoplast enzyme results from processing of the full-length 53.7 kDa protein. The nuclear enzyme appears to result from translation initiation at the second in-frame ATG codon. This is the first example in trypanosomatids of the production of nuclear and mitochondrial isoforms of a protein from a single gene and is the only eukaryotic gene in the RNase HI gene family shown to encode a mitochondrial RNase H.
PMCID: PMC30385  PMID: 11160895
18.  Subgenomic RNAs mediate expression of cistrons located internally on the genomic RNA of tobacco necrosis virus strain A. 
Journal of Virology  1992;66(11):6419-6428.
Upon infection of tobacco protoplasts, the genomic RNA of tobacco necrosis virus strain A (TNV-A) accumulates linearly in time. The accumulation patterns of the two subgenomic RNAs resemble those of endogenous mRNAs in that the peak levels are reached after several hours. The accumulation of the 1.3-kb subgenomic RNA is delayed by 1 h compared with that of the 1.6-kb subgenomic RNA, which illustrates the important role of the subgenomic RNAs in the regulation of TNV-A gene expression. The locations of the 5' nucleotides of the subgenomic RNAs reveal that the 5'-proximal cistrons of the 1.6- and 1.3-kb RNAs encode an 8-kDa protein from open reading frame (ORF) 3 and the coat protein from ORF 5, respectively. In a wheat germ translation system, a synthetic transcript resembling the 1.6-kb RNA expresses both ORFs 3 and 4. Moreover, the synthesis of the 6-kDa protein from ORF 4 depends on the translation efficiency of ORF 3, suggesting that in vivo, ORFs 3 and 4 are both expressed from the 1.6-kb RNA. The major in vitro translation product of TNV-A genomic RNA is the coat protein. We show that the region upstream of the coat protein promotes internal initiation of translation in vitro. However, this region is functionally inactive in vivo, suggesting that TNV-A genomic RNA is not important for coat protein synthesis in plants.
PMCID: PMC240134  PMID: 1404597
19.  The tobacco etch potyvirus 6-kilodalton protein is membrane associated and involved in viral replication. 
Journal of Virology  1994;68(4):2388-2397.
The tobacco etch potyvirus (TEV) genome encodes a polyprotein that is processed by three virus-encoded proteinases. Although replication of TEV likely occurs in the cytoplasm, two replication-associated proteins, VPg-proteinase (nuclear inclusion protein a) (NIa) and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (nuclear inclusion protein b) (NIb), accumulate in the nucleus of infected cells. The 6-kDa protein is located adjacent to the N terminus of NIa in the TEV polyprotein, and, in the context of a 6-kDa protein/NIa (6/NIa) polyprotein, impedes nuclear translocation of NIa (M. A. Restrepo-Hartwig and J. C. Carrington, J. Virol. 66:5662-5666, 1992). The 6-kDa protein and three polyproteins containing the 6-kDa protein were identified by affinity chromatography of extracts from infected plants. Two of the polyproteins contained NIa or the N-terminal VPg domain of NIa linked to the 6-kDa protein. To investigate the role of the 6-kDa protein in vivo, insertion and substitution mutagenesis was targeted to sequences coding for the 6-kDa protein and its N- and C-terminal cleavage sites. These mutations were introduced into a TEV genome engineered to express the reporter protein beta-glucuronidase (GUS), allowing quantitation of virus amplification by a fluorometric assay. Three-amino-acid insertions at each of three positions in the 6-kDa protein resulted in viruses that were nonviable in tobacco protoplasts. Disruption of the N-terminal cleavage site resulted in a virus that was approximately 10% as active as the parent, while disruption of the C-terminal processing site eliminated virus viability. The subcellular localization properties of the 6-kDa protein were investigated by fractionation and immunolocalization of 6-kDa protein/GUS (6/GUS) fusion proteins in transgenic plants. Nonfused GUS was associated with the cytosolic fraction (30,000 x g centrifugation supernatant), while 6/GUS and GUS/6 fusion proteins sedimented with the crude membrane fraction (30,000 x g centrifugation pellet). The GUS/6 fusion protein was localized to apparent membranous proliferations associated with the periphery of the nucleus. These data suggest that the 6-kDa protein is membrane associated and is necessary for virus replication.
PMCID: PMC236716  PMID: 8139025
20.  Sequence and organization of barley yellow dwarf virus genomic RNA. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1988;16(13):6097-6111.
The nucleotide sequence of the genomic RNA of barley yellow dwarf virus, PAV serotype was determined, except for the 5'-terminal base, and its genome organization deduced. The 5,677 nucleotide genome contains five large open reading frames (ORFs). The genes for the coat protein (1) and the putative viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase were identified. The latter shows a striking degree of similarity to that of carnation mottle virus (CarMV). By comparison with corona- and retrovirus RNAs, it is proposed that a translational frameshift is involved in expression of the polymerase. An ORF encoding an Mr 49,797 protein (50K ORF) may be translated by in-frame readthrough of the coat protein stop codon. The coat protein, an overlapping 17K ORF, and a 3'6.7K ORF are likely to be expressed via subgenomic mRNAs.
PMCID: PMC336850  PMID: 3399386
21.  Identification of a gene required for maturation of an extracellular lactococcal serine proteinase. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1989;171(5):2789-2794.
Directly upstream of the Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris Wg2 proteinase gene is an oppositely directed open reading frame (ORF1). The complete nucleotide sequence of ORF1, encoding a 33-kilodalton protein, was determined. A protein of approximately 32 kilodaltons was synthesized when ORF1 was expressed in Escherichia coli by using a T7 RNA polymerase-specific promoter. L. lactis subsp. lactis MG1363 transformants carrying the proteinase gene but lacking ORF1 were phenotypically proteinase deficient, unlike transformants carrying both the proteinase gene and ORF1. Synthesis and secretion of proteinase antigen by L. lactis could be detected with proteinase-directed monoclonal antibodies regardless of whether ORF1 was present. The requirement of ORF1 for proteinase activation was reflected in a reduction in the molecular weight of the secreted proteinase. Furthermore, deletion of the 130 C-terminal amino acids of the Wg2 proteinase prevented attachment of the enzyme to lactococcal cells.
PMCID: PMC209965  PMID: 2708318
22.  Thermostable and site-specific DNA binding of the gene product ORF56 from the Sulfolobus islandicus plasmid pRN1, a putative archael plasmid copy control protein 
Nucleic Acids Research  2001;29(4):904-913.
There is still a lack of information on the specific characteristics of DNA-binding proteins from hyperthermophiles. Here we report on the product of the gene orf56 from plasmid pRN1 of the acidophilic and thermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus islandicus. orf56 has not been characterised yet but low sequence similarily to several eubacterial plasmid-encoded genes suggests that this 6.5 kDa protein is a sequence-specific DNA-binding protein. The DNA-binding properties of ORF56, expressed in Escherichia coli, have been investigated by EMSA experiments and by fluorescence anisotropy measurements. Recombinant ORF56 binds to double-stranded DNA, specifically to an inverted repeat located within the promoter of orf56. Binding to this site could down-regulate transcription of the orf56 gene and also of the overlapping orf904 gene, encoding the putative initiator protein of plasmid replication. By gel filtration and chemical crosslinking we have shown that ORF56 is a dimeric protein. Stoichiometric fluorescence anisotropy titrations further indicate that ORF56 binds as a tetramer to the inverted repeat of its target binding site. CD spectroscopy points to a significant increase in ordered secondary structure of ORF56 upon binding DNA. ORF56 binds without apparent cooperativity to its target DNA with a dissociation constant in the nanomolar range. Quantitative analysis of binding isotherms performed at various salt concentrations and at different temperatures indicates that approximately seven ions are released upon complex formation and that complex formation is accompanied by a change in heat capacity of –6.2 kJ/mol. Furthermore, recombinant ORF56 proved to be highly thermostable and is able to bind DNA up to 85°C.
PMCID: PMC29613  PMID: 11160922
23.  Cleavage of the Feline Calicivirus Capsid Precursor Is Mediated by a Virus-Encoded Proteinase 
Journal of Virology  1998;72(4):3051-3059.
Feline calicivirus (FCV), a member of the Caliciviridae, produces its major structural protein as a precursor polyprotein from a subgenomic-sized mRNA. In this study, we show that the proteinase responsible for processing this precursor into the mature capsid protein is encoded by the viral genome at the 3′-terminal portion of open reading frame 1 (ORF1). Protein expression studies of either the entire or partial ORF1 indicate that the proteinase is active when expressed either in in vitro translation or in bacterial cells. Site-directed mutagenesis was used to characterize the proteinase Glu-Ala cleavage site in the capsid precursor, utilizing an in vitro cleavage assay in which mutant precursor proteins translated from cDNA clones were used as substrates for trans cleavage by the proteinase. In general, amino acid substitutions in the P1 position (Glu) of the cleavage site were less well tolerated by the proteinase than those in the P1′ position (Ala). The precursor cleavage site mutations were introduced into an infectious cDNA clone of the FCV genome, and transfection of RNA derived from these clones into feline kidney cells showed that efficient cleavage of the capsid precursor by the virus-encoded proteinase is a critical determinant in the growth of the virus.
PMCID: PMC109753  PMID: 9525628
24.  An Internal Ribosome Entry Site Directs Translation of the 3′-Gene from Pelargonium Flower Break Virus Genomic RNA: Implications for Infectivity 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22617.
Pelargonium flower break virus (PFBV, genus Carmovirus) has a single-stranded positive-sense genomic RNA (gRNA) which contains five ORFs. The two 5′-proximal ORFs encode the replicases, two internal ORFs encode movement proteins, and the 3′-proximal ORF encodes a polypeptide (p37) which plays a dual role as capsid protein and as suppressor of RNA silencing. Like other members of family Tombusviridae, carmoviruses express ORFs that are not 5′-proximal from subgenomic RNAs. However, in one case, corresponding to Hisbiscus chlorotic ringspot virus, it has been reported that the 3′-proximal gene can be translated from the gRNA through an internal ribosome entry site (IRES). Here we show that PFBV also holds an IRES that mediates production of p37 from the gRNA, raising the question of whether this translation strategy may be conserved in the genus. The PFBV IRES was functional both in vitro and in vivo and either in the viral context or when inserted into synthetic bicistronic constructs. Through deletion and mutagenesis studies we have found that the IRES is contained within a 80 nt segment and have identified some structural traits that influence IRES function. Interestingly, mutations that diminish IRES activity strongly reduced the infectivity of the virus while the progress of the infection was favoured by mutations potentiating such activity. These results support the biological significance of the IRES-driven p37 translation and suggest that production of the silencing suppressor from the gRNA might allow the virus to early counteract the defence response of the host, thus facilitating pathogen multiplication and spread.
PMCID: PMC3144232  PMID: 21818349
25.  Molecular cloning of two new heat shock genes related to the hsp70 genes in Staphylococcus aureus. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1994;176(15):4779-4783.
We have identified two new heat shock protein genes, orf37 and orf35, in Staphylococcus aureus, located upstream and downstream of grpE(hsp20), dnaK(hsp70), and dnaJ(hsp40) homologous genes in the order orf37-hsp20-hsp70-hsp40-orf35. The transcripts of both orf37 and orf35 were increased by thermal upshift of the culture from 37 to 46 degrees C. The heat shock promoters were located upstream of orf37 and upstream of hsp40. The deduced peptide of orf37 showed similarity with those of orfA in Clostridium acetobutylicum and orf39 in Bacillus subtilis. orf35 was unique in S. aureus and has not yet been described in other bacteria.
PMCID: PMC196305  PMID: 8045913

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