Pestiviruses like bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) and classical swine fever virus (CSFV) belong to the family Flaviviridae. A special feature of the Flaviviridae is the importance of nonstructural (NS) proteins for both genome replication and virion morphogenesis. The NS2-3-4A region and its regulated processing by the NS2 autoprotease and the NS3/4A protease plays a central role in the pestiviral life cycle. We report the identification and characterization of a novel internal cleavage in BVDV NS2, which is mediated by the NS3/4A protease. Further mapping using the NS2 of BVDV-1 strain NCP7 showed that cleavage occurs between L188 and G189. This cleavage site represents a novel sequence motif recognized by the NS3/4A protease and is conserved between the pestivirus species A, B and D. Inhibition of this internal NS2 cleavage by mutating the cleavage site did not cause obvious effects on RNA replication or virion morphogenesis in cultured cell lines. Accordingly, this novel internal NS2 cleavage adds an additional layer to the already complex polyprotein processing of Pestiviruses and might further extend the repertoires of the multifunctional NS2. However, unravelling of the functional relevance of this novel processing event in NS2, therefore, awaits future in vivo studies.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)
- Centers: Center for Structural and Cell Biology (CSCM/ZMSZ)