Regulation of de novo-initiated RNA synthesis in hepatitis C virus RNA-dependent RNA polymerase by intermolecular interactions. Academic Article uri icon


  • The hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) has been proposed to change conformations in association with RNA synthesis and to interact with cellular proteins. In vitro, the RdRp can initiate de novo from the ends of single-stranded RNA or extend a primed RNA template. The interactions between the Delta1 loop and thumb domain in NS5B are required for de novo initiation, although it is unclear whether these interactions are within an NS5B monomer or are part of a higher-order NS5B oligomeric complex. This work seeks to address how polymerase conformation and/or oligomerization affects de novo initiation. We have shown that an increasing enzyme concentration increases de novo initiation by the genotype 1b and 2a RdRps while primer extension reactions are not affected or inhibited under similar conditions. Initiation-defective mutants of the HCV polymerase can increase de novo initiation by the wild-type (WT) polymerase. GTP was also found to stimulate de novo initiation. Our results support a model in which the de novo initiation-competent conformation of the RdRp is stimulated by oligomeric contacts between individual subunits. Using electron microscopy and single-molecule reconstruction, we attempted to visualize the low-resolution conformations of a dimer of a de novo initiation-competent HCV RdRp.

published proceedings

  • J Virol

author list (cited authors)

  • Chinnaswamy, S., Murali, A., Li, P., Fujisaki, K., & Kao, C. C.

citation count

  • 46

complete list of authors

  • Chinnaswamy, S||Murali, A||Li, P||Fujisaki, K||Kao, CC

publication date

  • June 2010