Flock house virus coat protein expressed in a baculovirus system spontaneously assembles into viruslike particles, which undergo an autocatalytic postassembly cleavage equivalent to that of the native virus. Mutations of the asparagine at the Asn/Ala cleavage site result in assembly of provirion-like particles that are cleavage defective. Crystals of the mutant provirions have been grown, and they diffract X rays beyond 3.3-Å (0.33-nm) resolution. The crystals are monoclinic space group P21 (a = 464.8 Å [46.48 nm]; b = 333.9 Å [33.39 nm]; c = 325.2 Å [32.52 nm]; β = 91.9°) with two provirion-like particles per unit cell. Thus, it should be possible to determine the high-resolution structure of the provirion, which will be compared with the crystal structure of the mature authentic virion. This collation should provide mechanistic detail for understanding the cleavage event. Moreover, this demonstrates that the baculovirus expression system displays sufficient fidelity to permit crystallographic analysis of the assembly process of biological macromolecules.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Journal of Virology|
|State||Published - May 1993|
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