Peptides were synthesized based on the cleavage sites in the adenovirus type 2 proteins pVI and pVII. The synthetic peptides were incubated with disrupted, purified adenovirus as a source of proteinase and specific cleavages were monitored by fast protein liquid chromatography and amino acid analysis. Using this approach it was established that all the peptides cleaved were of the form M(L)XGX↓G or M(L)XGG↓X. Thus we have shown that the adenoviral proteinase recognizes a specific secondary structure formed by a sequence of at least five amino acids, the main determinants of specificity being two and four residues to the N-terminal side of the bond cleaved. We were able to examine the relevant structural features of the peptide substrates by utilizing the CHEM-X molecular modelling package. Using our consensus sequence we were able to predict the cleavage sites in the viral proteins pVIII, pre-terminal protein (pTP), 11K and IIIa. Octapeptides containing the predicted sites in pVIII and the pTP were synthesized and shown to be cleaved by the proteinase.


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