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The bluetongue virus core is a molecular machine that simultaneously and repeatedly transcribes mRNA from 10 segments of viral double-stranded RNA, packaged in a liquid crystalline array. To determine how the logistical problems of transcription within a sealed shell are solved, core crystals were soaked with various ligands and analysed by X-ray crystallography. Mg(2+) ions produce a slight expansion of the capsid around the 5-fold axes. Oligonucleotide soaks demonstrate that the 5-fold pore, opened up by this expansion, is the exit site for mRNA, whilst nucleotide soaks pinpoint a separate binding site that appears to be a selective channel for the entry and exit of substrates and by-products. Finally, nucleotides also bind to the outer core layer, providing a substrate sink.

Original publication

DOI

10.1093/emboj/20.24.7229

Type

Journal article

Journal

EMBO J

Publication Date

17/12/2001

Volume

20

Pages

7229 - 7239

Keywords

Base Sequence, Binding Sites, Bluetongue virus, Calcium, Crystallography, X-Ray, Magnesium, Phosphates, RNA, Messenger, Sulfates, Transcription, Genetic