, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 282-290
Date: 28 Apr 2011

Activation and maturation of SARS-CoV main protease

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The worldwide outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 was due to the transmission of SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV). The main protease (Mpro) of SARS-CoV is essential for the viral life cycle, and is considered to be an attractive target of anti-SARS drug development. As a key enzyme for proteolytic processing of viral polyproteins to produce functional non-structure proteins, Mpro is first auto-cleaved out of polyproteins. The monomeric form of Mpro is enzymatically inactive, and it is activated through homo-dimerization which is strongly affected by extra residues to both ends of the mature enzyme. This review provides a summary of the related literatures on the study of the quaternary structure, activation, and self-maturation of Mpro over the past years.