2Lomonosov Moscow State University, Biological Faculty, 119991 Moscow, Russia
* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received May 23, 2016; Revision received July 14, 2016
It has been shown by X-ray analysis that cores of coat proteins (CPs) from three potexviruses, flexible helical RNA-containing plant viruses, have similar α-helical structure. However, this similarity cannot explain structural lability of potexvirus virions, which is believed to determine their biological activity. Here, we used circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy in the far UV region to compare optical properties of CPs from three potexviruses with the same morphology and similar structure. CPs from Alternanthera mosaic virus (AltMV), potato aucuba mosaic virus (PAMV), and potato virus X (PVX) have been studied in a free state and in virions. The CD spectrum of AltMV virions was similar to the previously obtained CD spectrum of papaya mosaic virus (PapMV) virions, but differed significantly from the CD spectrum of PAMV virions. The CD spectrum of PAMV virions resembled in its basic characteristics the CD spectrum of PVX virions characterized by molar ellipticity that is abnormally low for α-helical proteins. Homology modeling of the CP structures in AltMV, PAMV, and PVX virions was based on the known high-resolution structures of CPs from papaya mosaic virus and bamboo mosaic virus and confirmed that the structures of the CP cores in all three viruses were nearly identical. Comparison of amino acid sequences of different potexvirus CPs and prediction of unstructured regions in these proteins revealed a possible correlation between specific features in the virion CD spectra and the presence of disordered N-terminal segments in the CPs.
KEY WORDS: plant helical viruses, potexviruses, virion, coat protein, structure, optical methods