3 years ago

Structural insights into reptarenavirus cap-snatching machinery

Dominik Vogel, Maria Rosenthal, Stephen Cusack, Nadja Gogrefe, Bianka Rauschenberger, Stephan Günther, Juan Reguera, Sophia Reindl

by Maria Rosenthal, Nadja Gogrefe, Dominik Vogel, Juan Reguera, Bianka Rauschenberger, Stephen Cusack, Stephan Günther, Sophia Reindl

Cap-snatching was first discovered in influenza virus. Structures of the involved domains of the influenza virus polymerase, namely the endonuclease in the PA subunit and the cap-binding domain in the PB2 subunit, have been solved. Cap-snatching endonucleases have also been demonstrated at the very N-terminus of the L proteins of mammarena-, orthobunya-, and hantaviruses. However, a cap-binding domain has not been identified in an arena- or bunyavirus L protein so far. We solved the structure of the 326 C-terminal residues of the L protein of California Academy of Sciences virus (CASV), a reptarenavirus, by X-ray crystallography. The individual domains of this 37-kDa fragment (L-Cterm) as well as the domain arrangement are structurally similar to the cap-binding and adjacent domains of influenza virus polymerase PB2 subunit, despite the absence of sequence homology, suggesting a common evolutionary origin. This enabled identification of a region in CASV L-Cterm with similarity to a cap-binding site; however, the typical sandwich of two aromatic residues was missing. Consistent with this, cap-binding to CASV L-Cterm could not be detected biochemically. In addition, we solved the crystal structure of the corresponding endonuclease in the N-terminus of CASV L protein. It shows a typical endonuclease fold with an active site configuration that is essentially identical to that of known mammarenavirus endonuclease structures. In conclusion, we provide evidence for a presumably functional cap-snatching endonuclease in the N-terminus and a degenerate cap-binding domain in the C-terminus of a reptarenavirus L protein. Implications of these findings for the cap-snatching mechanism in arenaviruses are discussed.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1006400

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