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Interactions between coronavirus nucleocapsid protein and viral RNAs: implications for viral transcription

Interactions between coronavirus nucleocapsid protein and viral RNAs: implications for viral transcription

Journal of Virology 62(11): 4280-4287

The interaction of the mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) nucleocapsid protein (N) and viral RNA was examined. Monoclonal antibody specific for N protein coimmunoprecipitated MHV genomic RNA as well as all six MHV subgenomic mRNAs found in MHV-infected cells. In contrast, monoclonal antibodies to the MHV E2 or E1 envelope glycoproteins, an anti-I-A monoclonal antibody, and serum samples from lupus patients did not immunoprecipitate the MHV mRNAs. Moreover, the anti-N monoclonal antibody did not coimmunoprecipitate vesicular stomatitis virus RNA or host cell RNA under conditions which immunoprecipitated all MHV RNAs. These data suggest a specific interaction between the N protein and the virus-specific mRNAs. Both the membrane-bound and cytosolic small MHV leader-specific RNAs of greater than 65 nucleotides long were immunoprecipitated only by anti-N monoclonal antibody. These data suggest that an N binding site is present within the leader RNA sequences at a site at least 65 nucleotides from the 5' end of genomic RNA and all six subgenomic mRNAs. The larger leader-containing RNAs originating from mRNA 1 and mRNA 6, as well as the MHV negative-stranded RNA, were also immunoprecipitated by the anti-N monoclonal antibody. These data indicate that the MHV N protein is associated with MHV-specific RNAs and RNA intermediates and may play an important functional role during MHV transcription and replication.

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Accession: 007474034

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PMID: 2845140

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