Crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of the human respiratory syncytial virus nucleocapsid protein.
El Omari K., Scott K., Dhaliwal B., Ren J., Abrescia NGA., Budworth J., Lockyer M., Powell KL., Hawkins AR., Stammers DK.
Human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV) has a nonsegmented negative-stranded RNA genome which is encapsidated by the HRSV nucleocapsid protein (HRSVN) that is essential for viral replication. HRSV is a common cause of respiratory infection in infants, yet no effective antiviral drugs to combat it are available. Recent data from an experimental anti-HRSV compound, RSV-604, indicate that HRSVN could be the target site for drug action. Here, the expression, purification and preliminary data collection of decameric HRSVN as well as monomeric N-terminally truncated HRSVN mutants are reported. Two different crystal forms of full-length selenomethionine-labelled HRSVN were obtained that diffracted to 3.6 and approximately 5 A resolution and belonged to space group P2(1)2(1)2(1), with unit-cell parameters a = 133.6, b = 149.9, c = 255.1 A, and space group P2(1), with unit-cell parameters a = 175.1, b = 162.6, c = 242.8 A, beta = 90.1 degrees , respectively. For unlabelled HRSVN, only crystals belonging to space group P2(1) were obtained that diffracted to 3.6 A. A self-rotation function using data from the orthorhombic crystal form confirmed the presence of tenfold noncrystallographic symmetry, which is in agreement with a reported electron-microscopic reconstruction of HRSVN. Monomeric HRSVN generated by N-terminal truncation was designed to assist in structure determination by reducing the size of the asymmetric unit. Whilst such HRSVN mutants were monomeric in solution and crystallized in a different space group, the size of the asymmetric unit was not reduced.