The cytomegalovirus maturational proteinase is synthesized as a precursor that undergoes at least three processing cleavages. Two of these were predicted to be at highly conserved consensus sequences-one near the carboxyl end of the precursor, called the maturational (M) site, and the other near the middle of the precursor, called the release (R) site. A third less-well- conserved cleavage site, called the inactivation (I) site, was also identified near the middle of the human cytomegalovirus 28-kDa assemblin homolog. We have used site-directed mutagenesis to verify all three predicted sequences in the simian cytomegalovirus proteinase, and have shown that the proteinase precursor is active without cleavage at these sites. We have also shown that the P4 tyrosine and the P2 lysine of the R site were more sensitive to substitution than the other R- and M-site residues tested: substitution of alanine for P4 tyrosine at the R site severely reduced cleavage at that site but not at the M site, and substitution of asparagine for lysine at P2 of the R site reduced M-site cleavage and nearly eliminated I-site cleavage but had little effect on R-site cleavage. With the exception of P1' serine, all R-site mutations hindered I-site cleavage, suggesting a role for the carboxyl end of assemblin in I-site cleavage. Pulse-chase radiolabeling and site-directed mutagenesis indicated that assemblin is metabolically unstable and is degraded by cleavage at its I site. Fourteen amino acid substitutions were also made in assemblin, the enzymatic amino half of the proteinase precursor. Among those tested, only 2 amino acids were identified as essential for activity: the single absolutely conserved serine and one of the two absolutely conserved histidines. When the highly conserved glutamic acid (Glu22) was substituted, the proteinase was able to cleave at the M and I sites but not at the R site, suggesting either a direct (e.g., substrate recognition) or indirect (e.g., protein conformation) role for this residue in determining substrate specificity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science