The phosphorylated form of the ORF3 protein of hepatitis E virus interacts with its non-glycosylated form of the major capsid protein, ORF2

Shweta Tyagi, Hasan Korkaya, Mohammad Zafrullah, Shahid Jameel, Sunil K. Lal

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Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a human RNA virus containing three open reading frames. Of these, ORF1 encodes the viral nonstructural polyprotein; ORF2 encodes the major capsid protein, which exists in a glycosylated and non-glycosylated form; and ORF3 codes for a phosphoprotein of undefined function. Using fluorescence-based colocalization, yeast two-hybrid experiments, transiently transfected COS-1 cell co-immunoprecipitation, and cell-free coupled transcription-translation techniques, we have shown that the ORF3 protein interacts with the ORF2 protein. The domains involved in this ORF2-ORF3 association have been identified and mapped. Our deletion analysis showed that a 25-amino acid region (residues 57-81) of the ORF3 protein is required for this interaction. Using a Mexican HEV isolate, site-directed mutagenesis of ORF3, and a phosphatase digestion assay, we showed that the ORF2-ORF3 interaction is dependent upon the phosphorylation at Ser80 of ORF3. Finally, using COS-1 cell immunoprecipitation experiments, we found that the phosphorylated ORF3 protein preferentially interacts with the non-glycosylated ORF2 protein. These findings were confirmed using tunicamycin inhibition, point mutants, and deletion mutants expressing only non-glycosylated ORF2. ORF3 maps in the structural region of the HEV genome and now interacts with the major capsid protein, ORF2, in a post-translational modification-dependent manner. Such an interaction of ORF2 with ORF3 suggests a possible well regulated role for ORF3 in HEV structural assembly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22759-22767
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2002
Externally publishedYes

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