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IUBMB Life ; 75(4): 370-376, 2023 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2173018


Catalytically inactive kinases, known as pseudokinases, are conserved in all three domains of life. Due to the lack of catalytic residues, pseudokinases are considered to act as allosteric regulators and scaffolding proteins with no enzymatic function. However, since these "dead" kinases are conserved along with their active counterparts, a role for pseudokinases may have been overlooked. In this review, we will discuss the recently characterized pseudokinases Selenoprotein O, Legionella effector SidJ, and the SARS-CoV2 protein nsp12 which catalyze AMPylation, glutamylation, and RNAylation, respectively. These studies provide structural and mechanistic insight into the versatility and diversity of the kinase fold.

Nature ; 609(7928): 793-800, 2022 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1984402


The RNA genome of SARS-CoV-2 contains a 5' cap that facilitates the translation of viral proteins, protection from exonucleases and evasion of the host immune response1-4. How this cap is made in SARS-CoV-2 is not completely understood. Here we reconstitute the N7- and 2'-O-methylated SARS-CoV-2 RNA cap (7MeGpppA2'-O-Me) using virally encoded non-structural proteins (nsps). We show that the kinase-like nidovirus RdRp-associated nucleotidyltransferase (NiRAN) domain5 of nsp12 transfers the RNA to the amino terminus of nsp9, forming a covalent RNA-protein intermediate (a process termed RNAylation). Subsequently, the NiRAN domain transfers the RNA to GDP, forming the core cap structure GpppA-RNA. The nsp146 and nsp167 methyltransferases then add methyl groups to form functional cap structures. Structural analyses of the replication-transcription complex bound to nsp9 identified key interactions that mediate the capping reaction. Furthermore, we demonstrate in a reverse genetics system8 that the N terminus of nsp9 and the kinase-like active-site residues in the NiRAN domain are required for successful SARS-CoV-2 replication. Collectively, our results reveal an unconventional mechanism by which SARS-CoV-2 caps its RNA genome, thus exposing a new target in the development of antivirals to treat COVID-19.

RNA Caps , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Proteins , Antiviral Agents , COVID-19/virology , Catalytic Domain , Guanosine Diphosphate/metabolism , Humans , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Nucleotidyltransferases/chemistry , Nucleotidyltransferases/metabolism , Protein Domains , RNA Caps/chemistry , RNA Caps/genetics , RNA Caps/metabolism , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Proteins/chemistry , Viral Proteins/metabolism , COVID-19 Drug Treatment