Multiple copies of the Johnsongrass mosaic virus coat protein synthesized in can readily assemble to form potyvirus-like particles. This expression system has been used to identify some of the key amino acid residues, within the core region of the coat protein, required for assembly. The two charged residues R and D previously proposed theoretically to be involved as a pair in the construction of a salt bridge crucial for the assembly process were targeted for site-directed mutagenesis. The results from our experiments suggest that the two residues are required for the assembly process but are not necessarily involved as a pair in a common salt bridge.


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