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J Gen Virol. 2002 Jan;83(Pt 1):131-9.

Subunit composition and conformational stability of the oligomeric form of the avian reovirus cell-attachment protein sigmaC.

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Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


Previous work has shown that the avian reovirus cell-attachment sigma C (sigmaC) protein is a multimer. In the first part of this study the oligomerization state of intracellularly synthesized sigmaC was analysed by different approaches, including SDS-PAGE, chemical cross-linking, sedimentation and gel filtration analysis. All these approaches indicated that protein sigmaC in its native state is a homotrimer. In the second part of the present work we investigated the effect of different factors and reagents on oligomer stability, in order to elucidate the nature of the forces that maintain the conformational stability of the homotrimer. Our results, based on the stabilizing effect conferred by reducing agents, demonstrate that the sigmaC subunits are not covalently bound via disulfide linkages. They further suggest that the formation of an intrachain disulfide bond between the two cysteine residues of the sigmaC polypeptide has a negative effect on oligomer stability. The susceptibility of the trimer to pH, temperature, ionic strength, chemical denaturants and detergents indicates that hydrophobic interactions contribute much more to oligomer stability than do ionic interactions and hydrogen bonding. Finally, our results also reveal that mammalian and avian reovirus cell attachment proteins follow different subunit dissociation pathways.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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