Modulation of the hepatitis C virus RNA-dependent RNA polymerase activity by the Non-Structural (NS) 3 helicase and the NS4b membrane protein

Sabina Piccininni, Agoritsa Varaklioti, Maria Nardelli, Bhuvanesh Dave, Kevin D. Raney, John E.G. McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

131 Scopus citations

Abstract

The hepatitis C virus (HCV) nonstructural protein 5B (NS5B) is believed to be the central catalytic enzyme responsible for HCV replication but there are many unanswered questions about how its activity is controlled. In this study we reveal that two other HCV proteins, NS3 (a protease/helicase) and NS4B (a hydrophobic protein of unknown function), physically and functionally interact with the NS5B polymerase. We describe a new procedure for generating highly pure NS4B, and use this protein in biochemical studies together with NS5B and NS3. To study the functional effects of the protein-protein interactions, we have developed an in vitro replication assay using the natural noncoding 3′ regions of the respective positive ((+)-3′-untranslated region) and negative ((-)-3′-terminal region) RNA strands of the HCV genome. Our studies show that NS3 dramatically modulates template recognition by NS5B and changes the synthetic products generated by this enzyme. The use of an NTPase-deficient mutant form of NS3 demonstrates that the NTPase activity (and thus helicase activity) of this protein is specifically required for these effects. Moreover, NS4B is found to be a negative regulator of the NS3-NS5B replication complex. Overall, these results reveal that NS3, NS4B, and NS5B can interact to form a regulatory complex that could feature in the process of HCV replication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45670-45679
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume277
Issue number47
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 22 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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