The core protein P3 of Rice dwarf virus constructs asymmetric dimers, one of which is inserted by the amino-terminal region of another P3 protein. The P3 proteins with serial amino-terminal deletions, expressed in a baculovirus system, formed particles with gradually decreasing stability. The capacity for self-assembly disappeared when 52 of the amino-terminal amino acids had been deleted. These results demonstrated that insertion of the amino-terminal arm of one P3 protein into another appears to play an important role in stabilizing the core particles.
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