Conformational Changes in Bacteriophage P22 Scaffolding Protein Induced by Interaction with Coat Protein

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA.
Journal of Molecular Biology (Impact Factor: 4.33). 07/2011; 410(2):226-40. DOI: 10.1016/j.jmb.2011.05.006
Source: PubMed


Many prokaryotic and eukaryotic double-stranded DNA viruses use a scaffolding protein to assemble their capsid. Assembly of the double-stranded DNA bacteriophage P22 procapsids requires the interaction of 415 molecules of coat protein and 60-300 molecules of scaffolding protein. Although the 303-amino-acid scaffolding protein is essential for proper assembly of procapsids, little is known about its structure beyond an NMR structure of the extreme C-terminus, which is known to interact with coat protein. Deletion mutagenesis indicates that other regions of scaffolding protein are involved in interactions with coat protein and other capsid proteins. Single-cysteine and double-cysteine variants of scaffolding protein were generated for use in fluorescence resonance energy transfer and cross-linking experiments designed to probe the conformation of scaffolding protein in solution and within procapsids. We showed that the N-terminus and the C-terminus are proximate in solution, and that the middle of the protein is near the N-terminus but not accessible to the C-terminus. In procapsids, the N-terminus was no longer accessible to the C-terminus, indicating that there is a conformational change in scaffolding protein upon assembly. In addition, our data are consistent with a model where scaffolding protein dimers are positioned parallel with one another with the associated C-termini.

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