Coronavirus nucleocapsid protein is an RNA chaperone

Virology
Sonia ZúñigaLuis Enjuanes

Abstract

RNA chaperones are nonspecific nucleic acid binding proteins with long disordered regions that help RNA molecules to adopt its functional conformation. Coronavirus nucleoproteins (N) are nonspecific RNA-binding proteins with long disordered regions. Therefore, we investigated whether transmissible gastroenteritis coronavirus (TGEV) N protein was an RNA chaperone. Purified N protein enhanced hammerhead ribozyme self-cleavage and nucleic acids annealing, which are properties that define RNA chaperones. In contrast, another RNA-binding protein, PTB, did not show these activities. N protein chaperone activity was blocked by specific monoclonal antibodies. Therefore, it was concluded that TGEV N protein is an RNA chaperone. In addition, we have shown that purified severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV N protein also has RNA chaperone activity. In silico predictions of disordered domains showed a similar pattern for all coronavirus N proteins evaluated. Altogether, these data led us to suggest that all coronavirus N proteins might be RNA chaperones.

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Datasets Mentioned

BETA
AJ271965
AY278741
AF304460
AF029248
AJ278741
M95169

Methods Mentioned

BETA
electrophoretic mobility shift assay
electrophoresis
PCR
in vitro transcription
Antibody

Software Mentioned

PONDR VSL1
Quantity One
DisProt VL3H
DisProt VL3H predictor

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