Aggregation of Influenza A Virus Nuclear Export Protein
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Influenza A virus nuclear export protein (NEP) plays an important role in the viral life cycle. Recombinant NEP proteins containing (His)6-tag at either N-or C-terminus were obtained by heterologous expression in Escherichia coli cells and their high propensity for aggregation was demonstrated. Dynamic light scattering technique was used to study the kinetics and properties of NEP aggregation in solutions under different conditions (pH, ionic strength, presence of low-molecular-weight additives and organic solvents). Using atomic force microscopy, the predominance of spherical aggregates in all examined NEP preparations was shown, with some amyloid-like structures being observed in the case of NEP-C protein. A number of structure prediction programs were used to identify aggregation-prone regions in the NEP structure. All-atom molecular dynamics simulations indicate a high rate of NEP molecule aggregation and reveal the regions preferentially involved in the intermolecular contacts that are located at the edges of the rod-like protein molecule. Our results suggest that NEP aggregation is determined by different types of interactions and represents an intrinsic property of the protein that appears to be necessary for its functioning in vivo.
Keywordsinfluenza A virus nuclear export protein NEP protein aggregation
atomic force microscopy
dynamic light scattering
nuclear export protein
- NEP-C and NEP-N
recombinant NEP proteins with (His)6-tag at the C-and N-termini, respectively
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