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Proteolytic processing at the amino terminus of human coronavirus 229E gene 1-encoded polyproteins: identification of a papain-like proteinase and its substrate



Proteolytic processing at the amino terminus of human coronavirus 229E gene 1-encoded polyproteins: identification of a papain-like proteinase and its substrate



Journal of Virology 72(2): 910-918



Expression of the coronavirus gene 1-encoded polyproteins, pp1a and pp1ab, is linked to a series of proteolytic events involving virus-encoded proteinases. In this study, we used transfection and immunoprecipitation assays to show that the human coronavirus 229E-encoded papain-like cysteine proteinase, PCP1, is responsible for the release of an amino-terminal protein, p9, from the gene 1-encoded polyproteins. The same protein, p9, has also been identified in virus-infected cells. Furthermore, using an in vitro trans-cleavage assay, we defined the proteolytic cleavage site at the carboxyl terminus of p9 as pp1a-pp1ab amino acids Gly-111 and Asn-112. These results and a comparative sequence analysis suggest that substrate positions P1 and P5 seem to be the major determinants of the PCP1 cleavage site and that the latter can occupy a variable position at the amino terminus of the coronavirus ppla and pplab polyproteins. By combining the trans-cleavage assay with deletion mutagenesis, we were also able to locate the boundaries of the active PCP1 domain between pp1a-pp1ab amino acids Gly-861-Glu-975 and Asn-1209-Gln-1285. Finally, codon mutagenesis was used to show that Cys-1054 and His-1205 are essential for PCP1 proteolytic activity, suggesting that these amino acids most likely have a catalytic function.

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Accession: 009269006

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PMID: 9444982


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