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Third-party-funded project

Characterization of a viral SF1 helicase

Project management at the University of Würzburg:

Participating scientists:

Helicases use the energy derived from ATP hydrolysis to separate duplex RNA or DNA. They are involved in virtually every aspect of cellular nucleic acid metabolism. Also most positive-strand (+) RNA viruses encode helicases, which have been shown to be involved in various aspects of the viral replication cycle, such as genome replication, subgenomic mRNA transcription, cell-to-cell movement, and virion morphogenesis. Most of the (+)RNA viral helicases have been classified as belonging to superfamily (SF) 1, which to date have not been characterized in detail. To gain first insights into the biochemical reactions mediated by these enzymes, the coronavirus and arterivirus SF1 helicases were characterized. It was shown that the two nidovirus SF1 helicases characterized in this study mediate both nucleic-acid stimulated NTPase and 5'-to-3' duplex unwinding activities of both RNA and DNA substrates. The results demonstrate conclusively the predicted enzymatic activity of an, among (+)RNA viruses, strongly conserved functional domain. However, the data also revealed that, in several important aspects, the nidovirus enzymes differ from the previously characterized RNA viral SF2 enzymes, such as the flavivirus helicases.

Key words:
    virus, replication

Projekt period: from 05.1998 to 04.2000

Funding institution:
DFG ,Granting date: 23.04.1998