Publications and Research

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

March 2015

Abstract

Protein P7 is a component of the cystovirus viral polymerase complex. In the unpackaged procapsid, the protein is situated in close proximity to the viral directed RNA polymerase, P2. Cryo-electron microscopy difference maps from the species ϕ6 procapsid have demonstrated that P7 and P2 likely interact prior to viral RNA packaging. The location of P7 in the post-packaged nucleocapsid (NC) remains unknown. P7 may translocate closer to the five-fold axis of a filled procapsid but this has not been directly visualized. We propose that monoclonal antibodies (Mabs) can be selected that serve as probe- reagents for viral assembly and structure. A set of Mabs have been isolated that recognize and bind to the ϕ6 P7. The antibody set contains five unique Mabs, four of which recognize a linear epitope and one which recognizes a conformational epitope. The four unique Mabs that recognize a linear epitope display restricted utilization of Vκ and VH genes. The restricted genetic range among 4 of the 5 antibodies implies that the antibody repertoire is limited. The limitation could be the consequence of a paucity of exposed antigenic sites on the ϕ6 P7 surface. It is further demonstrated that within ϕ6 nucleocapsids that are primed for early-phase transcription, P7 is partially accessible to the Mabs, indicating that the nucleocapsid shell (protein P8) has undergone partial disassembly exposing the protein’s antigenic sites.

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