Amino acid preferences of retroviral proteases for amino-terminal positions in a type 1 cleavage site

Helga Eizert, Pálma Bander, Péter Bagossi, Tamás Sperka, Gabriella Miklóssy, Péter Boross, Irene T. Weber, József Tözsér

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19 Citations (Scopus)


The specificities of the proteases of 11 retroviruses were studied using a series of oligopeptides with amino acid substitutions in the P1, P3, and P4 positions of a naturally occurring type 1 cleavage site (Val-Ser-Gln-Asn-Tyr ↓ Pro-Ile-Val-Gln) in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Previously, the substrate specificity of the P2 site was studied for the same representative set of retroviral proteases, which included at least one member from each of the seven genera of the family Retroviridae (P. Bagossi, T. Sperka, A. Fehér, J. Kádas, G. Zahuczky, G. Miklóssy, P. Boross, and J. Tözsér, J. Virol. 79:4213-4218, 2005). Our enzyme set comprised the proteases of HIV-1, HIV-2, equine infectious anemia virus, avian myeloblastosis virus (AMV), Mason-Pfizer monkey virus, mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV), Moloney murine leukemia virus, human T-lymphotropic virus type 1, bovine leukemia virus, walleye dermal sarcoma virus, and human foamy virus. Molecular models were used to interpret the similarities and differences in specificity between these retroviral proteases. The results showed that the retroviral proteases had similar preferences (Phe and Tyr) for the P1 position in this sequence context, but differences were found for the P3 and P4 positions. Importantly, the sizes of the P3 and P4 residues appear to be a major contributor for specificity. The substrate specificities correlated well with the phylogenetic tree of the retroviruses. Furthermore, while the specificities of some enzymes belonging to different genera appeared to be very similar (e.g., those of AMV and MMTV), the specificities of the primate lentiviral proteases substantially differed from that observed for a nonprimate lentiviral protease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10111-10117
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology

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