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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

Drosophila Nora virus capsid proteins differ from those of other picorna-like viruses

Ekström, Jens-Ola; Habayeb, Mazen S.; Srivastava, Vaibhav; Wingsle, Gunnar; Kieselbach, Thomas; Hultmark, Dan


The recently discovered Nora virus from Drosophila melanogaster is a single-stranded RNA virus. Its published genomic sequence encodes a typical picorna-like cassette of replicative enzymes, but no capsid proteins similar to those in other picorna-like viruses. We have now done additional sequencing at the termini of the viral genome, extending it by 455 nucleotides at the 5' end, but no more coding sequence was found. The completeness of the final 12,333-nucleotide sequence was verified by the production of infectious virus from the cloned genome. To identify the capsid proteins, we purified Nora virus particles and analyzed their proteins by mass spectrometry. Our results show that the capsid is built from three major proteins, VP4A, B and C, encoded in the fourth open reading frame of the viral genome. The viral particles also contain traces of a protein from the third open reading frame, VP3. VP4A and B are not closely related to other picorna-like virus capsid proteins in sequence, but may form similar jelly roll folds. VP4C differs from the others and is predicted to have an essentially a-helical conformation. In a related virus, identified from EST database sequences from Nasonia parasitoid wasps, VP4C is encoded in a separate open reading frame, separated from VP4A and B by a frame-shift. This opens a possibility that VP4C is produced in non-equimolar quantities. Altogether, our results suggest that the Nora virus capsid has a different protein organization compared to the order Picornavirales. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


RNA viruses; Picornavirales; Insect viruses; Capsid protein organization

Published in

Virus Research
2011, Volume: 160, number: 1-2, pages: 51-58