The structures of picornaviral proteinases

Virus Res. 1999 Aug;62(2):159-68. doi: 10.1016/s0168-1702(99)00043-x.


Picornaviruses are a family of positive-strand RNA viruses the members of which include poliovirus, hepatitis A virus, rhinovirus, foot-and-mouth disease virus and encephalomyocarditis virus. The genetic information contained in the single-stranded, positive sense RNA genome is expressed as a single protein of around 2000 amino acids. This primary product of protein synthesis, designated the polyprotein, is subsequently cleaved into the mature viral proteins by proteinases present within it. The properties of the three defined proteolytic activities present in the picornaviruses are reviewed and the three-dimensional structures of the hepatitis A 3C proteinase and the leader proteinase of foot-and-mouth disease virus as well as a model of the structure of the HRV2 2A proteinase are compared with those of chymotrypsin, papain and streptomyces griseus A proteinase, respectively.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / chemistry*
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / metabolism
  • Endopeptidases / chemistry*
  • Endopeptidases / metabolism
  • Picornaviridae / enzymology*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Viral Proteins*


  • Viral Proteins
  • Endopeptidases
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases
  • 3C proteases
  • picornain 2A, Picornavirus
  • leader proteinase, foot-and-mouth disease virus