Role of the Histidine Triad-like Motif in Nucleotide Hydrolysis by the Rotavirus RNA-packaging Protein NSP2

Rodrigo Vasquez-Del Carpio, Fernando D. González-Nilo, Hariharan Jayaram, Eugenio Spencer, B. V.Venkataram Prasad, John T. Patton, Zenobia F. Taraporewala

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33 Citations (Scopus)


Octamers formed by the nonstructural protein NSP2 of rotavirus are proposed to function as molecular motors in the packaging of the segmented double-stranded RNA genome. The octamers have RNA binding, helix unwinding, and Mg2+-dependent NTPase activities and play a crucial role in assembly of viral replication factories (viroplasms). Comparison of x-ray structures has revealed significant structural homology between NSP2 and the histidine triad (HIT) family of nucleotidyl hydrolases, which in turn has suggested the location of the active site for NTP hydrolysis in NSP2. Consistent with the structural predictions, we show here using site-specific mutagenesis and ATP docking simulations that the active site for NTP hydrolysis is localized to residues within a 25-Å-deep cleft between the C- and N-terminal domains of the NSP2 monomer. Although lacking the precise signature HIT motif (HØHØHØØ where Ø is a hydrophobic residue), our analyses demonstrate that histidines (His221 and His 225) represent critical residues of the active site. Similar to events occurring during nucleotide hydrolysis by HIT proteins, NTP hydrolysis by NSP2 was found to produce a short lived phosphorylated intermediate. Evaluation of the biological importance of the NTPase activity of NSP2 by transient expression in mammalian cells showed that such activity has no impact on the ability of NSP2 to induce the hyperphosphorylation of NSP5 or to interact with NSP5 to form viroplasm-like structures. Hence the NTPase activity of NSP2 probably has a role subsequent to the formation of viroplasms, consistent with its suspected involvement in RNA packaging and/or replication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10624-10633
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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