We previously identified a minimal 12-amino-acid domain in the C terminus of the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) scaffolding protein which is required for interaction with the HSV-1 major capsid protein. An α- helical structure which maximizes the hydropathicity of the minimal domain is required for the interaction. To address whether cytomegalovirus (CMV) utilizes the same strategy for capsid assembly, several glutathione S- transferase fusion proteins to the C terminus of the CMV assembly protein precursor were produced and purified from bacterial cells. The study showed that the glutathione S.transferase fusion containing 16 amino acids near the C-terminal end was sufficient to interact with the major capsid protein. Interestingly, no cross-interaction between HSV-1 and CMV could be detected. Mutation analysis revealed that a three-amino-acid region at the N-terminal side of the central Phe residue of the CMV interaction domain played a role in determining the vital specificity of the interaction. When this region was converted so as to correspond to that of HSV-1, the CMV assembly protein domain lost its ability to interact with the CMV major capsid protein but gained full interaction with the HSV-1 major capsid protein. To address whether the minimal interaction domain of the CMV assembly protein forms an α-helical structure similar to that in HSV-1, peptide competition experiments were carried out. The results showed that a cyclic peptide derived from the interaction domain with a constrained α-helical structure competed for interaction with the major capsid protein much more efficiently than the unconstrained linear peptide. In contrast, a cyclic peptide containing an Ala substitution for the critical Phe residue did not compete for the interaction at all. The results of this study suggest that (i) CMV may have developed a strategy similar to that of HSV-1 for capsid assembly; (ii) the minimal interaction motif in the CMV assembly protein requires an α-helix for efficient interaction with the major capsid protein; and (iii) the Phe residue in the CMV minimal interaction domain is critical for interaction with the major capsid protein.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science