1887

Abstract

The capsid protein (CP) of (CMV) is required for cell-to-cell movement, mediated by the 3a movement protein (MP). Deletion of the C-terminal 33 amino acids of the CMV 3a MP (in the mutant designated 3aΔC33 MP) resulted in CP-independent cell-to-cell movement, but not long-distance movement. RNA-binding studies done using isolated bacterially expressed MP showed that the 3aΔC33 MP bound RNA more strongly, with fewer regions sensitive to RNase and formed cooperatively bound complexes at lower ratios of protein : RNA than the wild-type (wt) 3a MP. Analysis of the architecture of the complexes by atomic force microscopy showed that the wt 3a MP formed a single type of complex with RNA, resembling beads on a string. By contrast, the 3aΔC33 MP formed several types of complexes, including complexes with virtually no MP bound or thicker layers of MP bound to the RNA. Assays showed that protein–RNA complexes containing high levels of either MP inhibited the infectivity and translatability of viral RNAs. The 3aΔC33 MP inhibited these processes at lower ratios of protein : RNA than the wt 3a MP, consistent with its stronger binding properties. The apparent contradiction between these inhibition data and the CP-independent cell-to-cell movement of CMV expressing the 3aΔC33 MP is discussed.

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2004-01-01
2020-01-28
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