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      Turkey Coronavirus Non-Structure Protein NSP15-An Endoribonuclease

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          Turkey coronavirus (TCoV) polyprotein was predicted to be cleaved into 15 non-structural proteins (nsp2 to nsp16), but none of these nsps have been characterized. TCoV nsp15 consists of 338 residues and shares 40% sequence similarity to U-specific Nidovirales endoribonuclease (NendoU) of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus.


          The purpose of the present study was to characterize TCoV nsp15.


          The TCoV nsp15 gene was cloned into pTriEX1 and expressed as a C-terminal His-tagged recombinant protein in BL21 (DE3). The recombinant nsp15 was purified by Ni-NTA resin. Synthetic RNA substrates were used to determine the substrate specificity of the TCoV nsp15. RNA zymography was used to determine the active form of the nsp15.


          The TCoV nsp15 did not cleave DNA but degraded total cellular RNA. The TCoV nsp15 cleaved single-stranded (ss) RNA at the uridylate site. The TCoV nsp15 cleaved hairpin RNA, pRNA, and double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) of infectious bursal disease virus very slowly, implying that dsRNA is not a good substrate for the TCoV nsp15. No divalent metal ion was required for in vitro enzymatic activity of the TCoV nsp15. The active form of the TCoV nsp15 was a homohexamer and disulfide bond was essential for the enzymatic activity.


          The TCoV nsp15 is a NendoU but has some characteristics different from other NendoU.

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          Most cited references 16

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          Coronaviruses in poultry and other birds.

           Dave Cavanagh (2005)
          The number of avian species in which coronaviruses have been detected has doubled in the past couple of years. While the coronaviruses in these species have all been in coronavirus Group 3, as for the better known coronaviruses of the domestic fowl (infectious bronchitis virus [IBV], in Gallus gallus), turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) and pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), there is experimental evidence to suggest that birds are not limited to infection with Group 3 coronaviruses. In China coronaviruses have been isolated from peafowl (Pavo), guinea fowl (Numida meleagris; also isolated in Brazil), partridge (Alectoris) and also from a non-gallinaceous bird, the teal (Anas), all of which were being reared in the vicinity of domestic fowl. These viruses were closely related in genome organization and in gene sequences to IBV. Indeed, gene sequencing and experimental infection of chickens indicated that the peafowl isolate was the H120 IB vaccine strain, while the teal isolate was possibly a field strain of a nephropathogenic IBV. Thus the host range of IBV does extend beyond the chicken. Most recently, Group 3 coronaviruses have been detected in greylag goose (Anser anser), mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos) and pigeon (Columbia livia). It is clear from the partial genome sequencing of these viruses that they are not IBV, as they have two additional small genes near the 3' end of the genome. Twenty years ago a coronavirus was isolated after inoculation of mice with tissue from the coastal shearwater (Puffinus puffinus). While it is not certain whether the virus was actually from the shearwater or from the mice, recent experiments have shown that bovine coronavirus (a Group 2 coronavirus) can infect and also cause enteric disease in turkeys. Experiments with some Group 1 coronaviruses (all from mammals, to date) have shown that they are not limited to replicating or causing disease in a single host. SARS-coronavirus has a wide host range. Clearly there is the potential for the emergence of new coronavirus diseases in domestic birds, from both avian and mammalian sources. Modest sequence conservation within gene 1 has enabled the design of oligonucleotide primers for use in diagnostic reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reactions, which will be useful for the detection of new coronaviruses.
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            Nidovirus transcription: how to make sense...?

            Many positive-stranded RNA viruses use subgenomic mRNAs to express part of their genetic information. To produce structural and accessory proteins, members of the order Nidovirales (corona-, toro-, arteri- and roniviruses) generate a 3' co-terminal nested set of at least three and often seven to nine mRNAs. Coronavirus and arterivirus subgenomic transcripts are not only 3' co-terminal but also contain a common 5' leader sequence, which is derived from the genomic 5' end. Their synthesis involves a process of discontinuous RNA synthesis that resembles similarity-assisted RNA recombination. Most models proposed over the past 25 years assume co-transcriptional fusion of subgenomic RNA leader and body sequences, but there has been controversy over the question of whether this occurs during plus- or minus-strand synthesis. In the latter model, which has now gained considerable support, subgenomic mRNA synthesis takes place from a complementary set of subgenome-size minus-strand RNAs, produced by discontinuous minus-strand synthesis. Sense-antisense base-pairing interactions between short conserved sequences play a key regulatory role in this process. In view of the presumed common ancestry of nidoviruses, the recent finding that ronivirus and torovirus mRNAs do not contain a common 5' leader sequence is surprising. Apparently, major mechanistic differences must exist between nidoviruses, which raises questions about the functions of the common leader sequence and nidovirus transcriptase proteins and the evolution of nidovirus transcription. In this review, nidovirus transcription mechanisms are compared, the experimental systems used are critically assessed and, in particular, the impact of recently developed reverse genetic systems is discussed.
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              Coronavirus genome: prediction of putative functional domains in the non-structural polyprotein by comparative amino acid sequence analysis.

              Amino acid sequences of 2 giant non-structural polyproteins (F1 and F2) of infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), a member of Coronaviridae, were compared, by computer-assisted methods, to sequences of a number of other positive strand RNA viral and cellular proteins. By this approach, juxtaposed putative RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, nucleic acid binding ("finger"-like) and RNA helicase domains were identified in F2. Together, these domains might constitute the core of the protein complex involved in the primer-dependent transcription, replication and recombination of coronaviruses. In F1, two cysteine protease-like domains and a growth factor-like one were revealed. One of the putative proteases of IBV is similar to 3C proteases of picornaviruses and related enzymes of como- nepo- and potyviruses. Search of IBV F1 and F2 sequences for sites similar to those cleaved by the latter proteases and intercomparison of the surrounding sequence stretches revealed 13 dipeptides Q/S(G) which are probably cleaved by the coronavirus 3C-like protease. Based on these observations, a partial tentative scheme for the functional organization and expression strategy of the non-structural polyproteins of IBV was proposed. It implies that, despite the general similarity to other positive strand RNA viruses, and particularly to potyviruses, coronaviruses possess a number of unique structural and functional features.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG (Allschwilerstrasse 10, P.O. Box · Postfach · Case postale, CH–4009, Basel, Switzerland · Schweiz · Suisse, Phone: +41 61 306 11 11, Fax: +41 61 306 12 34, )
                February 2009
                21 November 2008
                : 51
                : 5
                : 342-351
                Department of Comparative Pathobiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., USA
                Author notes
                *Tsang Long Lin, Department of Comparative Pathobiology, Purdue University, 406 S. University Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (USA), Tel. +1 765 494 7927, Fax +1 765 494 9181, E-Mail tllin@
                Copyright © 2008 by S. Karger AG, Basel

                This article is made available via the PMC Open Access Subset for unrestricted re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic or until permissions are revoked in writing. Upon expiration of these permissions, PMC is granted a perpetual license to make this article available via PMC and Europe PMC, consistent with existing copyright protections.

                Page count
                Figures: 7, Tables: 1, References: 25, Pages: 10
                Original Paper


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