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The QRxGRxGRxxxG motif of the vaccinia virus DExH box RNA helicase NPH-II is required for ATP hydrolysis and RNA unwinding but not for RNA binding.

ABSTRACT: Vaccinia virus NPH-II is an essential nucleic acid-dependent nucleoside triphosphate that catalyzes unidirectional unwinding of duplex RNA containing a 3' tail. NPH-II is the prototypal RNA helicase of the DExH box protein family, which is defined by several shared sequence motifs. The contribution of the conserved QRKGRVGRVNPG region to enzyme activity was assessed by alanine-scanning mutagenesis. Ten mutated versions of NPH-II were expressed in vaccinia virus-infected BSC-40 cells and purified by nickel affinity chromatography and glycerol gradient sedimentation. The mutated proteins were characterized with respect to RNA helicase, nucleic acid-dependent ATPase, and RNA binding functions. Individual alanine substitutions at invariant residues Q-491, G-494, R-495, G-497, R-498, and G-502 caused severe defects in RNA unwinding that correlated with reduced rates of ATP hydrolysis. None of these mutations affected the binding of NPH-II to single-strand RNA or to the tailed duplex RNA used as a helicase substrate. Mutation of the strictly conserved position R-492 inhibited ATPase and helicase activities and also caused a modest decrement in RNA binding. Alanine mutations at the nonconserved position N-500 and the weakly conserved residue P-501 had no apparent effect on any activity associated with NPH-II, whereas a mutation at the weakly conserved position K-493 reduced helicase to one-third and ATPase to two-thirds of the activity of wild-type required for ATP hydrolysis and RNA unwinding but not for RNA binding. Because mutations in the HRxGRxxR motif of the prototypal DEAD box RNA helicase eIF-4A abolish or severely inhibit RNA binding, we surmise that the contribution of conserved helicase motifs to overall protein function is context dependent.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC189994 | BioStudies | 1996-01-01T00:00:00Z


REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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