RNA-protein interactions in some small plant viruses

Rossmann, Michael G. ; Abad-Zapatero, Celerino ; Erickson, John W. ; Savithri, H. S. (1983) RNA-protein interactions in some small plant viruses Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics, 1 (2). pp. 565-579. ISSN 0739-1102

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Official URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0739110...

Related URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07391102.1983.10507462


The structure of the three quasi-equivalent protein subunits A, B and C of the spherical, T = 3 southern bean mosaic virus (SBMV) have been carefully built in accordance with a refined electron density map of the complete virus. The lower electron density in the RNA portion of the map could not be explicitly interpreted in terms of a preferred RNA structure on which some icosahedral symmetry might have been imposed. However, the extremely basic nature of the interior surface of the coat protein must be associated with the binding and organization of the RNA. Comparison with the small spherical, T = 1 satellite tobacco necrosis virus (STNV; Liljas et al., J. Mol. Biol. 159, 93–108,1982) and the T = 1 aggregate of alfalfa mosaic virus (AMV) protein (Fukuyama et al., J. Mol. Biol. 150, 33–41, 1981) showed similar results. The pattern of basic residues on the SBMV coat protein surface facing the RNA is able to dock a 9 base pair double-helical A-RNA structure with surprising accuracy. The basic residues are each associated with a different phosphate and the protein can make interactions with five bases in the minor groove. This may be one of a small number of ways in which the RNA interacts with SBMV coat protein. The self-assembly of SBMV has been studied in relation to the presence of the 63 basic amino-terminal coat protein sequence, pH, Ca2+ and Mg2+ ions and RNA. These results have led to a two-state model where the “relaxed” dimers initially self-assemble into 10-mer caps which nucleate the assembly of T = 1 or T = 3 capsids depending on the charge state of the carboxyl group clusters in the subunit contact region. The two-state condition of dimers in a viral coat protein extends the range of structures originally envisaged by Caspar and Klug (Cold Spring Harbor Symp. Quant. Biol. 27, 1–24, 1962).

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