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Wu S , Luo Y , Viswanathan U , Kulp J , Cheng J , Hu Z , Xu Q , Zhou Y , Gong GZ , Chang J , Li Y , Guo JT
CpAMs induce assembly of HBV capsids with altered electrophoresis mobility: Implications for mechanism of inhibiting pgRNA packaging
Antiviral Res. 2018 Nov;159 :1-12
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Native agarose gel electrophoresis-based particle gel assay has been commonly used for examination of hepatitis B virus (HBV) capsid assembly and pregenomic RNA encapsidation in HBV replicating cells. Interestingly, treatment of cells with several chemotypes of HBV core protein allosteric modulators (CpAMs) induced the assembly of both empty and DNA-containing capsids with faster electrophoresis mobility. In an effort to determine the physical basis of CpAM-induced capsid mobility shift, we found that the surface charge, but not the size, of capsids is the primary determinant of electrophoresis mobility. Specifically, through alanine scanning mutagenesis analysis of twenty-seven charged amino acids in core protein assembly domain and hinge region, we showed that except for K7 and E8, substitution of glutamine acid (E) or aspartic acid (D) on the surface of capsids reduced their mobility, but substitution of lysine (K) or arginine (R) on the surface of capsids increased their mobility in variable degrees. However, alanine substitution of the charged amino acids that are not exposed on the surface of capsid did not apparently alter capsid mobility. Hence, CpAM-induced electrophoresis mobility shift of capsids may reflect the global alteration of capsid structure that changes the exposure and/or ionization of charged amino acid side chains of core protein. Our findings imply that CpAM inhibition of pgRNA encapsidation is possibly due to the assembly of structurally altered nucleocapsids. Practically, capsid electrophoresis mobility shift is a diagnostic marker of compounds that target core protein assembly and predicts sensitivity of HBV strains to specific CpAMs.
1872-9096 Wu, Shuo Luo, Yue Viswanathan, Usha Kulp, John Cheng, Junjun Hu, Zhanying Xu, Qifang Zhou, Yan Gong, Guo-Zhong Chang, Jinhong Li, Yuhuan Guo, Ju-Tao Journal Article Netherlands Antiviral Res. 2018 Nov;159:1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2018.09.001. Epub 2018 Sep 7.