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Expression of murine coronavirus recombinant papain-like proteinase: efficient cleavage is dependent on the lengths of both the substrate and the proteinase polypeptides

Expression of murine coronavirus recombinant papain-like proteinase: efficient cleavage is dependent on the lengths of both the substrate and the proteinase polypeptides

Journal of Virology 73(4): 2658-2666

Proteolytic processing of the replicase gene product of mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) is essential for viral replication. In MHV strain A59 (MHV-A59), the replicase gene encodes two predicted papain-like proteinase (PLP) domains, PLP-1 and PLP-2. Previous work using viral polypeptide substrates synthesized by in vitro transcription and translation from the replicase gene demonstrated both cis and trans cleavage activities for PLP-1. We have cloned and overexpressed the PLP-1 domain in Escherichia coli by using a T7 RNA polymerase promoter system or as a maltose-binding protein (MBP) fusion protein. With both overexpression systems, the recombinant PLP-1 exhibited trans cleavage activity when incubated with in vitro-synthesized viral polypeptide substrates. Subsequent characterization of the recombinant PLP-1 revealed that in vitro trans cleavage is more efficient at 22 degrees C than at higher temperatures. Using substrates of increasing lengths, we observed efficient cleavage by PLP-1 requires a substrate greater than 69 kDa. In addition, when PLP-1 was expressed as a polypeptide that included additional viral sequences at the carboxyl terminus of the predicted PLP-1 domain, a fivefold increase in proteolytic activity was observed. The data presented here support previous data suggesting that in vitro and in vivo cleavage of the ORF 1a polyprotein by PLP-1 can occur in both in cis and in trans. In contrast to the cleavage activity demonstrated for PLP-1, no in vitro cleavage in cis or in trans could be detected with PLP-2 expressed either as a polypeptide, including flanking viral sequences, or as an MBP fusion enzyme.

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Accession: 010642178

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PMID: 10074111

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