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, 296 (2), 241-50

Birnavirus VP1 Proteins Form a Distinct Subgroup of RNA-dependent RNA Polymerases Lacking a GDD Motif

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Birnavirus VP1 Proteins Form a Distinct Subgroup of RNA-dependent RNA Polymerases Lacking a GDD Motif

Philip S Shwed et al. Virology.

Abstract

We have cloned and characterized the Drosophila X virus (DXV) genome segment B and its encoded VP1, the putative RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) present in the virion. The 2991-bp open reading frame encodes the largest birnavirus VP1 at 977 aa, with a calculated M(r) of 112.8 kDa. As with the VP1 proteins of the type species of the other two genera in the family Birnaviridae, namely, infectious pancreatic necrosis virus (genus Aquabirnavirus) and infectious bursal disease virus (genus Avibirnavirus), the DXV (genus Entomobirnavirus) VP1 protein contains a consensus GTP-binding site and appears to possess self-guanylylation activity. All of the birnavirus VP1 proteins contain conserved RdRp motifs that reside in the catalytic "palm" domain of all classes of polymerases. However, the birnavirus RdRps lack the highly conserved Gly-Asp-Asp (GDD) sequence, a component of the proposed catalytic site of this enzyme family that exists in the conserved motif VI of the palm domain of other RdRps. All three birnavirus RdRps do contain downstream DD motifs that could function as part of the catalytic triad. These motifs are, however, located in spatially distinct regions of the various birnavirus VP1 proteins. These results suggest that the VP1 proteins of birnaviruses form a defined subgroup of polymerases that either are lacking the conserved RdRp motif VI or have repositioned this motif to different structural regions.

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