One severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus protein complex integrates processive RNA polymerase and exonuclease activities

Lorenzo Subissi, Clara C Posthuma, Axelle Collet, Jessika C Zevenhoven-Dobbe, Alexander E Gorbalenya, Etienne Decroly, Eric J Snijder, Bruno Canard, Isabelle Imbert
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2014 September 16, 111 (37): E3900-9
In addition to members causing milder human infections, the Coronaviridae family includes potentially lethal zoonotic agents causing severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the recently emerged Middle East respiratory syndrome. The ∼30-kb positive-stranded RNA genome of coronaviruses encodes a replication/transcription machinery that is unusually complex and composed of 16 nonstructural proteins (nsps). SARS-CoV nsp12, the canonical RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), exhibits poorly processive RNA synthesis in vitro, at odds with the efficient replication of a very large RNA genome in vivo. Here, we report that SARS-CoV nsp7 and nsp8 activate and confer processivity to the RNA-synthesizing activity of nsp12. Using biochemical assays and reverse genetics, the importance of conserved nsp7 and nsp8 residues was probed. Whereas several nsp7 mutations affected virus replication to a limited extent, the replacement of two nsp8 residues (P183 and R190) essential for interaction with nsp12 and a third (K58) critical for the interaction of the polymerase complex with RNA were all lethal to the virus. Without a loss of processivity, the nsp7/nsp8/nsp12 complex can associate with nsp14, a bifunctional enzyme bearing 3'-5' exoribonuclease and RNA cap N7-guanine methyltransferase activities involved in replication fidelity and 5'-RNA capping, respectively. The identification of this tripartite polymerase complex that in turn associates with the nsp14 proofreading enzyme sheds light on how coronaviruses assemble an RNA-synthesizing machinery to replicate the largest known RNA genomes. This protein complex is a fascinating example of the functional integration of RNA polymerase, capping, and proofreading activities.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"