The papain-like protease from the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus is a deubiquitinating enzyme

Journal of Virology
Holger A LindnerRobert Ménard

Abstract

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus papain-like protease (SARS-CoV PLpro) is involved in the processing of the viral polyprotein and, thereby, contributes to the biogenesis of the virus replication complex. Structural bioinformatics has revealed a relationship for the SARS-CoV PLpro to herpesvirus-associated ubiquitin-specific protease (HAUSP), a ubiquitin-specific protease, indicating potential deubiquitinating activity in addition to its function in polyprotein processing (T. Sulea, H. A. Lindner, E. O. Purisima, and R. Menard, J. Virol. 79:4550-4551, 2005). In order to confirm this prediction, we overexpressed and purified SARS-CoV PLpro (amino acids [aa]1507 to 1858) from Escherichia coli. The purified enzyme hydrolyzed ubiquitin-7-amino-4-methylcoumarin (Ub-AMC), a general deubiquitinating enzyme substrate, with a catalytic efficiency of 13,100 M(-1)s(-1), 220-fold more efficiently than the small synthetic peptide substrate Z-LRGG-AMC, which incorporates the C-terminal four residues of ubiquitin. In addition, SARS-CoV PLpro was inhibited by the specific deubiquitinating enzyme inhibitor ubiquitin aldehyde, with an inhibition constant of 210 nM. The purified SARS-CoV PLpro disassembles branched polyubiquitin c...Continue Reading

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