Author(s): Dochow M, Krumm SA, Crowe JE Jr, Moore ML, Plemper RK
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Abstract All enzymatic activities required for genomic replication and transcription of nonsegmented negative strand RNA viruses (or Mononegavirales) are believed to be concentrated in the viral polymerase (L) protein. However, our insight into the organization of these different enzymatic activities into a bioactive tertiary structure remains rudimentary. Fragments of Mononegavirales polymerases analyzed to date cannot restore bioactivity through trans-complementation, unlike the related L proteins of segmented NSVs. We investigated the domain organization of phylogenetically diverse Paramyxovirus L proteins derived from measles virus (MeV), Nipah virus (NiV), and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Through a comprehensive in silico and experimental analysis of domain intersections, we defined MeV L position 615 as an interdomain candidate in addition to the previously reported residue 1708. Only position 1708 of MeV and the homologous positions in NiV and RSV L also tolerated the insertion of epitope tags. Splitting of MeV L at residue 1708 created fragments that were unable to physically interact and trans-complement, but strikingly, these activities were reconstituted by the addition of dimerization tags to the fragments. Equivalently split fragments of NiV, RSV, and MeV L oligomerized with comparable efficiency in all homo- and heterotypic combinations, but only the homotypic pairs were able to trans-complement. These results demonstrate that synthesis as a single polypeptide is not required for the Mononegavirales polymerases to adopt a proper tertiary conformation. Paramyxovirus polymerases are composed of at least two truly independent folding domains that lack a traditional interface but require molecular compatibility for bioactivity. The functional probing of the L domain architecture through trans-complementation is anticipated to be applicable to all Mononegavirales polymerases.
This article was published in J Biol Chem
and referenced in Biochemistry & Physiology: Open Access