The N-terminal half of the brome mosaic virus (BMV) 1a replication-associated protein contains sequence motifs found in RNA methyltransferases. We demonstrate that recombinant BMV methyltransferase-like (MT) domain expressed in Escherichia coli forms an adduct with a guanine nucleotide in a reaction that requires S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet) and divalent cations. Moieties in GTP and AdoMet required for adduct formation were determined using a competition assay and chemical analogues. In the guanine nucleotide the ribose 2' hydroxyl, the triphosphates, the base C6 keto group, and possibly the N1 imine are required. In AdoMet, the methyl group and the ability to transfer a methyl group to guanine nucleotide were demonstrated to be required for adduct formation. The effects of methyltransferase inhibitors on viral RNA synthesis was determined using an in vitro RNA synthesis assay. These results are consistent with the previously reported activities of alphaviral nsP1 methyltransferase protein and identify the chemical moieties required for the BMV methyltransferase activity.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.