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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Crystal structure of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus nucleocapsid protein dimerization domain reveals evolutionary linkage between corona- and arteriviridae.

The causative agent of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is the SARS-associated coronavirus, SARS-CoV. The nucleocapsid (N) protein plays an essential role in SARS-CoV genome packaging and virion assembly. We have previously shown that SARS-CoV N protein forms a dimer in solution through its C-terminal domain. In this study, the crystal structure of the dimerization domain, consisting of residues 270-370, is determined to 1.75A resolution. The structure shows a dimer with extensive interactions between the two subunits, suggesting that the dimeric form of the N protein is the functional unit in vivo. Although lacking significant sequence similarity, the dimerization domain of SARS-CoV N protein has a fold similar to that of the nucleocapsid protein of the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus. This finding provides structural evidence of the evolutionary link between Coronaviridae and Arteriviridae, suggesting that the N proteins of both viruses have a common origin.[1]


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