Structure-function analysis of mutant RNA-dependent RNA polymerase complexes with VPg
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The replication of the foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) genome is critically dependent upon the activity of a virally encoded RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp). In this study, four mutant RdRps of FMDV were isolated from viral quasi-species treated with ribavirin, of which two were single mutants (L123F and T381A) and two were double mutants (T291I/T381I and L123F/F244L). The mutant proteins were expressed in Escherichia coli and purified by His-bind resin chromatography. In combination with real-time RT-PCR, an in vitro RNA replication system that uses genome RNA/VPg as template-primers was used to determine polymerase activity. Mutant L123F exhibited a 0.6-fold decrease (p < 0.001) in polymerase activity relative to wild-type RdRp, whereas the activity of L123F/F244L and T381A was undetectable. Surprisingly, the activity of T291I/T381I yielded a 0.7-fold increase (p < 0.001) as compared to wild-type. In order to study the structure-function relationship of RdRp, all structures of the RdRp-RNA template-primer complex were obtained through homology modeling and molecular docking. The VPg1 orientation in the RdRp-VPg1 complexes was determined and analyzed with mathematical methods. Our results reveal that the orientation of VPg after binding to the polymerase determines the FMDV RdRp catalytic activity, which provides a basis for the rational design of novel antiviral agents.
Key wordsfoot-and-mouth disease virus RNA-dependent RNA polymerase activity homogenous modeling molecular docking VPg orientation
foot-and-mouth disease (virus)
RNA-dependent RNA polymerase
root mean square deviation
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