Hantavirus nucleocapsid protein coiled-coil domains

Ayna Alfadhli, Eric Steel, Liam Finlay, Hans Peter Bächinger, Eric Barklis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The nucleocapsid (N) proteins of hantaviruses such as the Sin Nombre virus (SNV) bind to membranes and viral RNAs, associate with transcription and replication complexes, and oligomerize during the process of virus assembly. N proteins trimerize in vitro and in vivo, and associate via assembly domains at their amino- and carboxyl-terminal ends. Because structure prediction algorithms suggested that N protein residues 3-75 form two coiled-coil motifs separated by an intervening kink or turn sequence, we examined the properties of peptides representing SNV N protein residues 3-35, 43-75, and 3-75. Of the three peptides, N-(3-35) assembled coiled coil oligomers only at high concentration and low temperature. In contrast, N-(43-75) efficiently trimerized at low concentration, implying that it carries a coiled-coil trigger sequence. Interestingly, while the longer peptide, N-(3-75), assembled dimers and/or trimers at high concentration, at low concentration it appeared to adopt an intramolecular helix-turn-helix conformation. These results suggest that N protein oligomerization involves the bundling of intramolecular antiparallel coils or a conformational switch from intra- to intermolecular coiled-coils.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27103-27108
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number30
StatePublished - Jul 26 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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