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      Conserved aspartic acid 233 and alanine 231 are not required for poliovirus polymerase function in replicons

      1 , 2 , , 1 ,
      Virology Journal
      BioMed Central

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          Nucleic acid polymerases have similar structures and motifs. The function of an aspartic acid (conserved in all classes of nucleic acid polymerases) in motif A remains poorly understood in RNA-dependent RNA polymerases. We mutated this residue to alanine in a poliovirus replicon. The resulting mutant could still replicate, although at a reduced level. In addition, mutation A231C (also in motif A) yielded high levels of replication. Taken together these results show that poliovirus polymerase conserved residues D233 and A231 are not essential to poliovirus replicon function.

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          Identification of four conserved motifs among the RNA-dependent polymerase encoding elements.

          Four consensus sequences are conserved with the same linear arrangement in RNA-dependent DNA polymerases encoded by retroid elements and in RNA-dependent RNA polymerases encoded by plus-, minus- and double-strand RNA viruses. One of these motifs corresponds to the YGDD span previously described by Kamer and Argos (1984). These consensus sequences altogether lead to 4 strictly and 18 conservatively maintained amino acids embedded in a large domain of 120 to 210 amino acids. As judged from secondary structure predictions, each of the 4 motifs, which may cooperate to form a well-ordered domain, places one invariant amino acid in or proximal to turn structures that may be crucial for their correct positioning in a catalytic process. We suggest that this domain may constitute a prerequisite 'polymerase module' implicated in template seating and polymerase activity. At the evolutionary level, the sequence similarities, gap distribution and distances between each motif strongly suggest that the ancestral polymerase module was encoded by an individual genetic element which was most closely related to the plus-strand RNA viruses and the non-viral retroposons. This polymerase module gene may have subsequently propagated in the viral kingdom by distinct gene set recombination events leading to the wide viral variety observed today.
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            Cinanserin is an inhibitor of the 3C-like proteinase of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and strongly reduces virus replication in vitro.

            The 3C-like proteinase (3CLpro) of severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) is one of the most promising targets for anti-SARS-CoV drugs due to its crucial role in the viral life cycle. In this study, a database containing structural information of more than 8,000 existing drugs was virtually screened by a docking approach to identify potential binding molecules of SARS-CoV 3CLpro. As a target for screening, both a homology model and the crystallographic structure of the binding pocket of the enzyme were used. Cinanserin (SQ 10,643), a well-characterized serotonin antagonist that has undergone preliminary clinical testing in humans in the 1960s, showed a high score in the screening and was chosen for further experimental evaluation. Binding of both cinanserin and its hydrochloride to bacterially expressed 3CLpro of SARS-CoV and the related human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E) was demonstrated by surface plasmon resonance technology. The catalytic activity of both enzymes was inhibited with 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) values of 5 microM, as tested with a fluorogenic substrate. The antiviral activity of cinanserin was further evaluated in tissue culture assays, namely, a replicon system based on HCoV-229E and quantitative test assays with infectious SARS-CoV and HCoV-229E. All assays revealed a strong inhibition of coronavirus replication at nontoxic drug concentrations. The level of virus RNA and infectious particles was reduced by up to 4 log units, with IC50 values ranging from 19 to 34 microM. These findings demonstrate that the old drug cinanserin is an inhibitor of SARS-CoV replication, acting most likely via inhibition of the 3CL proteinase.
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              An attempt to unify the structure of polymerases.

              With the great availability of sequences from RNA- and DNA-dependent RNA and DNA polymerases, it has become possible to delineate a few highly conserved regions for various polymerase types. In this work a DNA polymerase sequence from bacteriophage SPO2 was found to be homologous to the polymerase domain of the Klenow fragment of polymerase I from Escherichia coli, which is known to be closely related to those from Staphylococcus pneumoniae, Thermus aquaticus and bacteriophages T7 and T5. The alignment of the SPO2 polymerase with the other five sequences considerably narrowed the conserved motifs in these proteins. Three of the motifs matched reasonably all the conserved motifs of another DNA polymerase type, characterized by human polymerase alpha. It is also possible to find these three motifs in monomeric DNA-dependent RNA polymerases and two of them in DNA polymerase beta and DNA terminal transferases. These latter two motifs also matched two of the four motifs recently identified in 84 RNA-dependent polymerases. From the known tertiary architecture of the Klenow fragment of E. coli pol I, a spatial arrangement can be implied for these motifs. In addition, numerous biochemical experiments suggesting a role for the motifs in a common function (dNTP binding) also support these inferences. This speculative hypothesis, attempting to unify polymerase structure at least locally, if not globally, under the pol I fold, should provide a useful model to direct mutagenesis experiments to probe template and substrate specificity in polymerases.

                Author and article information

                Virol J
                Virology Journal
                BioMed Central (London )
                12 March 2007
                : 4
                : 28
                [1 ]Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology; Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, 1901 Perdido St., New Orleans, Louisiana, 70112, USA
                [2 ]Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, 2000 Stern Hall, 6400 Freret St, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, 70118, USA
                Copyright © 2007 Freistadt and Eberle; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 5 July 2005
                : 12 March 2007
                Short Report

                Microbiology & Virology
                Microbiology & Virology


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