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Structural basis of the monkeypox virus mRNA cap N7 methyltransferase complex.

Abstract The global outbreak of Mpox, caused by the monkeypox virus (MPXV), has attracted international attention and become another major infectious disease event after COVID-19. The mRNA cap N7 methyltransferase (RNMT) of MPXV methylates the N7 position of the added guanosine to the 5'-cap structure of mRNAs and plays a vital role in evading host antiviral immunity. MPXV RNMT is composed of the large subunit E1 and the small subunit E12. How E1 and E12 of MPXV assembly remains unclear. Here, we report the crystal structures of E12, the MTase domain of E1 with E12 (E1CTD -E12) complex, and the E1CTD -E12-SAM ternary complex, revealing the detailed conformations of critical residues and the structural changes upon E12 binding to E1. Functional studies suggest that E1CTD N-terminal extension (Asp545-Arg562) and the small subunit E12 play an essential role in the binding process of SAM. Structural comparison of the AlphaFold2-predicted E1, E1CTD -E12 complex, and the homologous D1-D12 complex of vaccinia virus (VACV) indicates an allosteric activating effect of E1 in MPXV. Our findings provide the structural basis for the MTase activity stimulation of the E1-E12 complex and suggest a potential interface for screening the anti-poxvirus inhibitors.

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