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Interaction Between Tomato spotted wilt virus N Protein Monomers Involves Nonelectrostatic Forces Governed by Multiple Distinct Regions in the Primary Structure

July 2004 , Volume 94 , Number  7
Pages  759 - 765

Mark Kainz , Pierre Hilson , Laura Sweeney , Erin DeRose , and Thomas L. German

First, third, and fourth authors: Department of Biology, Colgate University, 13 Oak Drive, Hamilton, NY 13346; second author: Functional Genomics Division, Department of Plant Systems Biology, Flanders Interuniversity Institute of Biotechnology (VIB), Ghent University, Technologie Park, 927, Ghent B-9052 Belgium; and fifth author: Department of Entomology, University of Wisconsin, 1630 Linden Drive, Madison 53706

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Accepted for publication 4 March 2004.

The ambisense RNA genome of Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) isby interaction with numerous copies of the virus encoded nucleocapsid (N) protein to form a subvirion structure called a ribonucleo-protein (RNP). RNPs are central to the viral replication cycle because they, and not free viral RNA, serve as templates for viral gene expression and genome replication. N protein monomers bind to viral RNA molecules in a cooperative manner. We have examined regions of the N protein that are involved in the N-N interactions that likely contribute to the cooperative binding of N to viral RNA. We created random and alanine scanning mutants of N and then screened the mutants for defects in N-N interaction using reverse and forward yeast two-hybrid assays. Our experiments identified residues in three distinct regions of the primary structure of the protein, residues 42 to 56, 132 to 152, and in the C-terminal 26 amino acids, that contribute to N-N dimerization or multimerization.interactions between N monomers mediated by the residues we identified are of a nonelectrostatic nature.

Additional keyword: tospovirus.

© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society