Yeast-based genetic system for functional analysis of poxvirus mRNA cap methyltransferase.

TitleYeast-based genetic system for functional analysis of poxvirus mRNA cap methyltransferase.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsSaha N, Shuman S, Schwer B
JournalJ Virol
Date Published2003 Jul
KeywordsAmino Acid Sequence, Genetic Complementation Test, Methyltransferases, Molecular Sequence Data, Plasmids, Poxviridae, RNA Caps, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Sequence Homology, Amino Acid, Viral Proteins

Structural differences between poxvirus and human mRNA capping enzymes recommend cap formation as a target for antipoxviral drug discovery. Genetic and pharmacologic analysis of the poxvirus capping enzymes requires in vivo assays in which the readout depends on the capacity of the viral enzyme to catalyze cap synthesis. Here we have used the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a genetic model for the study of poxvirus cap guanine-N7 methyltransferase. The S. cerevisiae capping system consists of separate triphosphatase (Cet1), guanylyltransferase (Ceg1), and methyltransferase (Abd1) components. All three activities are essential for cell growth. We report that the methyltransferase domain of vaccinia virus capping enzyme (composed of catalytic vD1-C and stimulatory vD12 subunits) can function in lieu of yeast Abd1. Coexpression of both vaccinia virus subunits is required for complementation of the growth of abd1Delta cells. Previously described mutations of vD1-C and vD12 that eliminate or reduce methyltransferase activity in vitro either abolish abd1Delta complementation or elicit conditional growth defects. We have used the yeast complementation assay as the primary screen in a new round of alanine scanning of the catalytic subunit. We thereby identified several new amino acids that are critical for cap methylation activity in vivo. Studies of recombinant proteins show that the lethal vD1-C mutations do not preclude heterodimerization with vD12 but either eliminate or reduce cap methyltransferase activity in vitro.

Alternate JournalJ. Virol.
PubMed ID12805428
PubMed Central IDPMC164803
Grant ListAI053471 / AI / NIAID NIH HHS / United States
GM42498 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
GM52470 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States

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