A Motif in the F Homomorph of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus Polymerase Is Important for the Subcellular Localisation of the Protein and Its Ability to Induce Redistribution of Golgi Membranes

Nadya Urakova, Andrew C Warden, Peter A White, Tanja Strive, Michael Frese

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Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) is a calicivirus that infects and frequently kills rabbits. Previously, we showed that the RHDV RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) is associated with distinct, but yet uncharacterised subcellular structures and is capable of inducing a redistribution of Golgi membranes. In this study, we identified a partially hidden hydrophobic motif that determines the subcellular localisation of recombinant RHDV RdRp in transfected cells. This novel motif, 189LLWGCDVGVAVCAAAVFHNICY210, is located within the F homomorph, between the conserved F3 and A motifs of the core RdRp domain. Amino acid substitutions that decrease the hydrophobicity of this motif reduced the ability of the protein to accumulate in multiple subcellular foci and to induce a rearrangement of the Golgi network. Furthermore, preliminary molecular dynamics simulations suggest that the RHDV RdRp could align with the negatively charged surfaces of biological membranes and undergo a conformational change involving the F homomorph. These changes would expose the newly identified hydrophobic motif so it could immerse itself into the outer leaflet of intracellular membranes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number202
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


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