Interactions between viral coat protein and a specific binding region on turnip crinkle virus RNA

N. Wei, T. J. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The turnip crinkle virus coat protein binding sites in the ribonucleoprotein complex resulting from virion dissociation have been identified previously. In this study, RNA binding characteristics of viral coat protein to a region encompassing the protected RNA fragments Fa, Ff, and Fc (Fafc) have been investigated further using an RNA transcript (the Fafc fragment). These experiments have shown that coat protein requires no additional viral RNA elements to bind to this region. Such binding was shown to be specific for turnip crinkle virus coat protein using an ultra-violet light cross-linking assay. Gel mobility shift analyses demonstrated that the protein-RNA interactions produced two complexes: a homogeneous small ribonucleoprotein complex, and larger complexes which failed to migrate into gels. High salt and limiting protein concentrations favored the formation of the small ribonucleoprotein complex, whereas low salt and excess protein concentrations favored the larger complexes. RNA competition experiments demonstrated that small ribonucleoprotein complex formation coincided with specific RNA binding of the coat protein to the Fafc fragment. In addition, the coat protein possessed a poly(U)-binding site(s), which enabled it to interact with single-stranded RNA in a sequence non-specific manner to form large complexes. The results suggest that the coat protein contains both specific and non-specific RNA binding activities located at physically distinct sites. These results are consistent with the proposed assembly model for turnip crinkle virus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-443
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 5 1991


  • RNA plant virus
  • RNA-protein interactions
  • virus assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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