Analysis of proteins that interact with nucleocapsid protein of SARS-CoV using 15-mer phage-displayed library

ZhengXue Liu, ZhanHui Wang, YingLe Liu, Wei Dong, YiPeng Qi
Chinese Science Bulletin, Kexue Tongbao 2007, 52 (15): 2072-2080
Analysis of proteins that interact with N protein of SARS-CoV using 15-mer phage-displayed library will help to explore the virus pathogenesis and to develop new drugs and vaccines against SARS. In this study, we cloned, expressed and purified N protein of SARS-CoV. This 46-kD N protein was verified by SDS-PAGE and Western-blot. Then, the peptides binding-specific to N protein were identified using 15-mer phage-displayed library. Surprisingly, all of the 89 clones from monoclonal ELISA were positive (S/N>2.1) and the result was further confirmed experimentally once again. Six N protein-binding peptides, designated separately as SNA1, SNA2, SNA4, SNA5, SNA9 and SNG11, were selected for sequencing. Sequence analysis suggested that SNA5 shared approximatively 100% sequence identity to SNA4, SNA2, SNA9 and SNA1. In addition, the binding specificity of the 15-mer peptides with the SARS-CoV N protein was further demonstrated by blocking ELISA using the synthetical 15-mer peptide according to the deduced amino acid sequence of SNA5. Also, the deduced amino sequence of SNA5 was compared with proteins in translated database using the tblastx program, and the results showed that the proteins with the highest homology were Ubiquinol-cytochrome c reductase iron-sulfur subunits (UCRI or UQCR), otherwise known as the Rieske iron-sulfur proteins (RISP). Notablely, in the [2Fe-2S] redox centre of UCRI, there were 6 residues [GGW(Y)F(Y)CP] compatible to the residues (position 2→7, GGWFCP7) of the NH2-terminal of the 15-mer peptide, which indicated higher binding specificity between the N protein of SARS-CoV and the redox centre of UCRI to some extent. Here, the possible molecular mechanisms of SARS-CoV N protein in the pathogenesis of SARS are discussed.

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