Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus nucleocapsid protein harbors distinct RNA-binding sites in the stalk and head domains Microbiology

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is a tick-borne Nairovirus that causes severe hemorrhagic fever with a mortality rate of up to 30% in certain outbreaks worldwide. The virus has wide endemic distribution. There is no effective antiviral therapeutic or FDA approved vaccine for this zoonotic viral illness. The multifunctional CCHFV nucleocapsid protein (N protein) plays a crucial role in the establishment of viral infection and is an important structural component of the virion. Here we show that CCHFV N protein has a distant RNA-binding site in the stalk domain that specifically recognizes the vRNA panhandle, formed by the base pairing of complementary nucleotides at the 5′ and 3′ termini of the vRNA genome. Using multiple approaches, including filter-bonding analysis, GFP reporter assay, and biolayer interferometry we observed an N protein-panhandle interaction both in vitro and in vivo. The purified WT CCHFV N protein and the stalk domain also recognize the vRNA panhandle of hazara virus, another Nairovirus in the family Bunyaviridae, demonstrating the genus-specific nature of N protein-panhandle interaction. Another RNA-binding site was identified at the head domain of CCHFV N protein that nonspecifically recognizes the single strand RNA (ssRNA) of viral or nonviral origin. Expression of CCHFV N protein stalk domain active in panhandle binding, dramatically inhibited the hazara virus replication in cell culture, illustrating the role of N protein-pa...
Source: Journal of Biological Chemistry - Category: Chemistry Authors: Tags: Molecular Bases of Disease Source Type: research

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