Calcium-dependent association of calmodulin with the rubella virus nonstructural protease domain. Academic Article uri icon


  • The rubella virus (RUBV) nonstructural (NS) protease domain, a Ca(2+)- and Zn(2+)-binding papain-like cysteine protease domain within the nonstructural replicase polyprotein precursor, is responsible for the self-cleavage of the precursor into two mature products, P150 and P90, that compose the replication complex that mediates viral RNA replication; the NS protease resides at the C terminus of P150. Here we report the Ca(2+)-dependent, stoichiometric association of calmodulin (CaM) with the RUBV NS protease. Co-immunoprecipitation and pulldown assays coupled with site-directed mutagenesis demonstrated that both the P150 protein and a 110-residue minidomain within NS protease interacted directly with Ca(2+)/CaM. The specific interaction was mapped to a putative CaM-binding domain. A 32-mer peptide (residues 1152-1183, denoted as RUBpep) containing the putative CaM-binding domain was used to investigate the association of RUBV NS protease with CaM or its N- and C-terminal subdomains. We found that RUBpep bound to Ca(2+)/CaM with a dissociation constant of 100-300 nm. The C-terminal subdomain of CaM preferentially bound to RUBpep with an affinity 12.5-fold stronger than the N-terminal subdomain. Fluorescence, circular dichroism and NMR spectroscopic studies revealed a "wrapping around" mode of interaction between RUBpep and Ca(2+)/CaM with substantially more helical structure in RUBpep and a global structural change in CaM upon complex formation. Using a site-directed mutagenesis approach, we further demonstrated that association of CaM with the CaM-binding domain in the RUBV NS protease was necessary for NS protease activity and infectivity.

published proceedings

  • J Biol Chem

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhou, Y., Tzeng, W., Wong, H., Ye, Y., Jiang, J., Chen, Y., ... Yang, J. J.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Zhou, Yubin||Tzeng, Wen-Pin||Wong, Hing-Cheung||Ye, Yiming||Jiang, Jie||Chen, Yanyi||Huang, Yun||Suppiah, Suganthi||Frey, Teryl K||Yang, Jenny J

publication date

  • March 2010