Stoichiometry and specificity of binding of Rauscher oncovirus 10,000-dalton (p10) structural protein to nucleic acids

M. Schulein, W. N. Burnette, J. T. August

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15 Scopus citations


A structural protein of Rauscher oncovirus of about 8,000 to 10,000 daltons (p10), encoded by the gag gene, has been purified in high yield to apparent homogeneity by a simple three-step procedure, The purified protein was highly basic, with an isoelectric point of more than 9.0, and its immunological antigenicity was chiefly group specific. A distinctive property of the protein was the binding to nucleic acids. The stoichiometry of p10 binding to Rauscher virus RNA was analyzed using both 125I-labeled p10 and 3H-labeled RNA. The protein-RNA complex, cross-linked by formaldehyde, was separated from free RNA and free protein by velocity sedimentation and density gradient centrifugation. A maximum of about 140 mol of p10 was bound per mol of 35S RNA, or about one molecule of p10 per 70 nucleotides. The protein-RNA complex banded at a density of about 1.55 g/ml. The number of nucleic acid sites bound and the affinity of p10 binding differed significantly among the other polynucleotides tested. The protein bound to both RNA and DNA with a preference for single-stranded molecules. Rauscher virus RNA and single-stranded phage fd DNA contained the highest number of binding sites. Binding to fd DNA was saturated with about 30 mol of p10 per mol of fd DNA, an average of about one p10 molecule per 180 nucleotides. The apparent binding constant was 7.3 x 107 M-1. The properties of the p10 place it in a category with other nucleic acid binding proteins that achieve a greater binding density on single-stranded than on double-stranded molecules and appear to act by facilitating changes in polynucleotide conformation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-60
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1978
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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