The hantaviral zoonotic diseases pose a significant threat to human health due to the lack of potential antiviral therapeutics or a vaccine against hantaviruses. N (Sin Nombre hantavirus nucleocapsid protein) augments mRNA translation. N binds to both the mRNA 5′ cap and 40S ribosomal subunit via RPS19 (ribosomal protein S19). N with the assistance of the viral mRNA 5′-UTR preferentially favours the translation of a downstream ORF. We identified and characterized the RPS19-binding domain at the N-terminus of N. Its deletion did not influence the secondary structure, but affected the conformation of trimeric N molecules. The N variant lacking the RPS19-binding region was able to bind both the mRNA 5′ cap and panhandle-like structure, formed by the termini of viral genomic RNA. In addition, the N variant formed stable trimers similar to wild-type N. Use of this variant in multiple experiments provided insights into the mechanism of ribosome loading during N-mediated translation strategy. The present study suggests that N molecules individually associated with the mRNA 5′ cap and RPS19 of the 40S ribosomal subunit undergo N–N interaction to facilitate the engagement of N-associated ribosomes at the mRNA 5′ cap. This has revealed new targets for therapeutic intervention of hantavirus infection.

You do not currently have access to this content.