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Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
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L.A.Baratova, N.V.Fedorova, E.N.Dobrov, E.V.Lukashina, A.N.Kharlanov, V.V.Nasonov, M.V.Serebryakova, S.V.Kozlovsky, etc.
N-Terminal segment of potato virus X coat protein subunits is glycosylated and mediates formation of a bound water shell on the virion surface.
Eur. J. Biochem., 271 (15), pp. 3136 - 3145, (2004)

The primary structures of N-terminal 19-mer peptides, released by limited trypsin treatment of coat protein (CP) subunits in intact virions of three potato virus X (PVX) isolates, were analyzed. Two wild-type PVX strains, Russian (Ru) and British (UK3), were used and also the ST mutant of UK3 in which all 12 serine and threonine residues in the CP N-terminal segment were replaced by glycine or alanine. With the help of direct carbohydrate analysis and MS, it was found that the acetylated N-terminal peptides of both wild-type strains are glycosylated by a single monosaccharide residue (galactose or fucose) at NAcSer in the first position of the CP sequence, whereas the acetylated N-terminal segment of the ST mutant CP is unglycosylated. Fourier transform infrared spectra in the 1000-4000 cm-1 region were measured for films of the intact and in situ trypsin-degraded PVX preparations at low and high humidity. These spectra revealed the presence of a broad-band in the region of valent vibrations of OH bonds (3100-3700 cm-1), which can be represented by superposition of three bands corresponding to tightly bound, weakly bound, and free OH groups. On calculating difference ('wet' minus 'dry') spectra, it was found that the intact wild-type PVX virions are characterized by high water-absorbing capacity and the ability to order a large number of water molecules on the virus particle. This effect was much weaker for the ST mutant and completely absent in the trypsin-treated PVX. It is proposed that the surface-located and glycosylated N-terminal CP segments of intact PVX virions induce the formation of a columnar-type shell from bound water molecules around the virions, which probably play a major role in maintaining the virion surface structure.

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