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Specific interaction between coronavirus leader RNA and nucleocapsid protein



Specific interaction between coronavirus leader RNA and nucleocapsid protein



Journal of Virology 62(11): 4288-4295



Northwestern blot analysis in the presence of competitor RNA was used to examine the interaction between the mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) nucleocapsid protein (N) and virus-specific RNAs. Our accompanying article demonstrates that anti-N monoclonal antibodies immunoprecipitated all seven MHV-specific RNAs as well as the small leader-containing RNAs from infected cells. In this article we report that a Northwestern blotting protocol using radiolabeled viral RNAs in the presence of host cell competitor RNA can be used to demonstrate a high-affinity interaction between the MHV N protein and the virus-specific RNAs. Further, RNA probes prepared by in vitro transcription were used to define the sequences that participate in such high-affinity binding. A specific interaction occurs between the N protein and sequences contained with the leader RNA which is conserved at the 5' end of all MHV RNAs. We have further defined the binding sites to the area of nucleotides 56 to 65 at the 3' end of the leader RNA and suggest that this interaction may play an important role in the discontinuous nonprocessive RNA transcriptional process unique to coronaviruses.

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Accession: 007810152

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PMID: 2845141


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