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

The arterivirus Nsp2 protease. An unusual cysteine protease with primary structure similarities to both papain-like and chymotrypsin-like proteases.

The replicase ORF1a polyprotein of equine arteritis virus, a positive-stranded RNA virus, is proteolytically processed into (at least) six nonstructural proteins (Nsp). A papain-like Cys protease in Nsp1 and a chymotrypsin-like Ser protease in Nsp4 are involved in this process. In this paper we demonstrate that the Nsp2/3 junction is not cleaved by either of these previously described proteases. Comparative sequence analysis suggested that an additional Cys protease resided in the N-terminal Nsp2 domain. For equine arteritis virus, this domain was shown to induce Nsp2/3 cleavage in a trans-cleavage assay. Processing was abolished when the putative active site residues, Cys-270 and His-332, were replaced. Other Nsp2 domains and three other conserved Cys residues were also shown to be essential. The Nsp2 Cys protease displays sequence similarity with viral papain-like proteases. However, the presumed catalytic Cys-270 is followed by a conserved Gly rather than the characteristic Trp. Replacement of Gly-271 by Trp abolished the Nsp2/3 cleavage. Conservation of a Cys-Gly dipeptide is a hallmark of viral chymotrypsin-like Cys proteases. Thus, the arterivirus Nsp2 protease is an unusual Cys protease with amino acid sequence similarities to both papain-like and chymotrypsin-like proteases.[1]


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