Rational Control of Poliovirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase Fidelity by Modulating Motif-D Loop Conformational Dynamics.
ABSTRACT: The conserved structural motif D is an important determinant of the speed and fidelity of viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRps). Structural and computational studies have suggested that conformational changes in the motif-D loop that help to reposition the catalytic lysine represent critical steps in nucleotide selection and incorporation. Conformations of the motif-D loop in the poliovirus RdRp are likely controlled in part by noncovalent interactions involving the motif-D residue Glu364. This residue swivels between making interactions with Lys228 and Asn370 to stabilize the open and closed loop conformations, respectively. We show here that we can rationally control the motif-D loop conformation by breaking these interactions. The K228A variant favors a more active closed conformation, leading to increased nucleotide incorporation rates and decreased nucleotide selectivity, and the N370A variant favors a less active open conformation, leading to decreased nucleotide incorporation rates and increased nucleotide selectivity. Similar competing interactions likely control nucleotide incorporation rates and fidelity in other viral RdRps. Rational engineering of these interactions may be important in the generation of live, attenuated vaccine strains, considering the established relationships between RdRp function and viral pathogenesis.
Project description:Fast, accurate nucleotide incorporation by polymerases facilitates expression and maintenance of genomes. Many polymerases use conformational dynamics of a conserved ? helix to permit efficient nucleotide addition only when the correct nucleotide substrate is bound. This ? helix is missing in structures of RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRps) and RTs. Here, we use solution-state nuclear magnetic resonance to demonstrate that the conformation of conserved structural motif D of an RdRp is linked to the nature (correct versus incorrect) of the bound nucleotide and the protonation state of a conserved, motif-D lysine. Structural data also reveal the inability of motif D to achieve its optimal conformation after incorporation of an incorrect nucleotide. Functional data are consistent with the conformational change of motif D becoming rate limiting during and after nucleotide misincorporation. We conclude that motif D of RdRps and, by inference, RTs is the functional equivalent to the fidelity helix of other polymerases.
Project description:All viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRps) have a conserved structural element termed motif D. Studies of the RdRp from poliovirus (PV) have shown that a conformational change of motif D leads to efficient and faithful nucleotide addition by bringing Lys-359 into the active site where it serves as a general acid. The RdRp of the Sabin I vaccine strain has Thr-362 changed to Ile. Such a drastic change so close to Lys-359 might alter RdRp function and contribute in some way to the attenuated phenotype of Sabin type I. Here we present our characterization of the T362I RdRp. We find that the T362I RdRp exhibits a mutator phenotype in biochemical experiments in vitro. Using NMR, we show that this change in nucleotide incorporation fidelity correlates with a change in the structural dynamics of motif D. A recombinant PV expressing the T362I RdRp exhibits normal growth properties in cell culture but expresses a mutator phenotype in cells. For example, the T362I-containing PV is more sensitive to the mutagenic activity of ribavirin than wild-type PV. Interestingly, the T362I change was sufficient to cause a statistically significant reduction in viral virulence. Collectively, these studies suggest that residues of motif D can be targeted when changes in nucleotide incorporation fidelity are desired. Given the observation that fidelity mutants can serve as vaccine candidates, it may be possible to use engineering of motif D for this purpose.
Project description:Mutational analysis of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) template channel identified two residues, Trp(397) and His(428), which are required for de novo initiation but not for extension from a primer. These two residues interact with the Delta1 loop on the surface of the RdRp. A deletion within the Delta1 loop also resulted in comparable activities. The mutant proteins exhibit increased double-stranded RNA binding compared with the wild type, suggesting that the Delta1 loop serves as a flexible locking mechanism to regulate the conformations needed for de novo initiation and for elongative RNA synthesis. A similar locking motif can be found in other viral RdRps. Products associated with the open conformation of the HCV RdRp were inhibited by interaction with the retinoblastoma protein but not cyclophilin A. Different conformations of the HCV RdRp can thus affect RNA synthesis and interaction with cellular proteins.
Project description:The RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRPs) encoded by RNA viruses represent a unique class of nucleic acid polymerases. Unlike other classes of single-subunit polymerases, viral RdRPs have evolved a unique conformational change in their palm domain to close the active site during catalysis. The hallmark of this conformational change is the backbone shift of the polymerase motif A from an "open" state to a "closed" state, allowing two universally conserved aspartic acid residues to orient toward each other for divalent metal binding and catalysis. The "closed" motif A conformation was only observed upon the binding of correct NTP in RdRP catalytic complexes or under rare conditions such as induced by a bound lutetium ion or a bound glutamate molecule. By solving the crystal structure of the catalytic elongation complex of the coxsackievirus RdRP, we in this work observed for the first time the "closed" motif A conformation in the absence of an NTP substrate or other conformational-change-inducing factors. This observation emphasizes the intrinsic dynamic features of viral RdRP motif A, and solidifies the structural basis for how this important structural element participates in catalytic events of the RdRPs.
Project description:Flaviviral RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRps) initiate replication of the single-stranded RNA genome in the absence of a primer. The template sequence 5'-CU-3' at the 3'-end of the flaviviral genome is highly conserved. Surprisingly, flaviviral RdRps require high concentrations of the second incoming nucleotide GTP to catalyze de novo template-dependent RNA synthesis. We show that GTP stimulates de novo RNA synthesis by RdRp from Japanese encephalitis virus (jRdRp) also. Crystal structures of jRdRp complexed with GTP and ATP provide a basis for specific recognition of GTP. Comparison of the jRdRpGTP structure with other viral RdRp-GTP structures shows that GTP binds jRdRp in a novel conformation. Apo-jRdRp structure suggests that the conserved motif F of jRdRp occupies multiple conformations in absence of GTP. Motif F becomes ordered on GTP binding and occludes the nucleotide triphosphate entry tunnel. Mutational analysis of key residues that interact with GTP evinces that the jRdRpGTP structure represents a novel pre-initiation state. Also, binding studies show that GTP binding reduces affinity of RdRp for RNA, but the presence of the catalytic Mn(2+) ion abolishes this inhibition. Collectively, these observations suggest that the observed pre-initiation state may serve as a checkpoint to prevent erroneous template-independent RNA synthesis by jRdRp during initiation.
Project description:Positive-strand RNA viruses include a large number of human and animal pathogens whose essential RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRPs) share a structurally homologous core with an encircled active site. RdRPs are targets for antiviral drug development, but these efforts are hindered by limited structural information about the RdRP catalytic cycle. To further our understanding of RdRP function, we assembled, purified, and then crystallized poliovirus elongation complexes after multiple rounds of nucleotide incorporation. Here we present structures capturing the active polymerase and its nucleotide triphosphate complexes in four distinct states, leading us to propose a six-state catalytic cycle involving residues that are highly conserved among positive-strand RNA virus RdRPs. The structures indicate that RdRPs use a fully prepositioned templating base for nucleotide recognition and close their active sites for catalysis using a novel structural rearrangement in the palm domain. The data also suggest that translocation by RDRPs may not be directly linked to the conformational changes responsible for active site closure and reopening.
Project description:The nucleotide addition cycle of nucleic acid polymerases includes 2 major events: the pre-chemistry active site closure leading to the addition of one nucleotide to the product chain; the post-chemistry translocation step moving the polymerase active site one position downstream on its template. In viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRPs), structural and biochemical evidences suggest that these 2 events are not tightly coupled, unlike the situation observed in A-family polymerases such as the bacteriophage T7 RNA polymerase. Recently, an RdRP translocation intermediate crystal structure of enterovirus 71 shed light on how translocation may be controlled by elements within RdRP catalytic motifs, and a series of poliovirus apo RdRP crystal structures explicitly suggest that a motif B loop may assist the movement of the template strand in late stages of transcription. Implications of RdRP catalysis-translocation uncoupling and the remaining challenges to further elucidate RdRP translocation mechanism are also discussed.
Project description:RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRPs) play key roles in viral transcription and genome replication, as well as epigenetic and post-transcriptional control of cellular gene expression. In this article, we review the crystallographic, biochemical, and molecular genetic data available for viral RdRPs that have led to a detailed description of substrate and cofactor binding, fidelity of nucleotide selection and incorporation, and catalysis. It is likely that the cellular RdRPs will share some of the basic structural and mechanistic principles gleaned from studies of viral RdRPs. Therefore, studies of the viral RdRP establish a framework for the study of cellular RdRPs, an important yet understudied class of nucleic acid polymerases.
Project description:The hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) has been proposed to change conformations in association with RNA synthesis and to interact with cellular proteins. In vitro, the RdRp can initiate de novo from the ends of single-stranded RNA or extend a primed RNA template. The interactions between the Delta1 loop and thumb domain in NS5B are required for de novo initiation, although it is unclear whether these interactions are within an NS5B monomer or are part of a higher-order NS5B oligomeric complex. This work seeks to address how polymerase conformation and/or oligomerization affects de novo initiation. We have shown that an increasing enzyme concentration increases de novo initiation by the genotype 1b and 2a RdRps while primer extension reactions are not affected or inhibited under similar conditions. Initiation-defective mutants of the HCV polymerase can increase de novo initiation by the wild-type (WT) polymerase. GTP was also found to stimulate de novo initiation. Our results support a model in which the de novo initiation-competent conformation of the RdRp is stimulated by oligomeric contacts between individual subunits. Using electron microscopy and single-molecule reconstruction, we attempted to visualize the low-resolution conformations of a dimer of a de novo initiation-competent HCV RdRp.
Project description:Residues Arg283, Arg285, and Ile287 are highly conserved amino acids in bovine viral diarrhea virus RNA polymerase (BVDV RdRp) and RdRps from related positive-strand RNA viruses. This motif is an important part of the binding pocket for the nascent RNA base pair during initiation and elongation. We found that replacement of the arginines with alanines or more conserved lysines or replacement of isoleucine with alanine or valine alters the ability of the mutant RdRps to incorporate ribonucleotides efficiently. The reduced RdRp activity stems from both decreased ribonucleotide binding and decreased catalytic efficiency in both primer-dependent and de novo initiation, as shown by kinetic studies. In line with other studies on flaviviral RdRps, our data suggest that Arg283 and Ile287 may be implicated in ribonucleotide binding and positioning of the template base in the active site. Arg285 appears to be involved directly in the selection of cognate nucleotide. The findings for Arg285 and Ile287 mutants also agree with similar data from picornavirus RdRps.