Li, Y., Phoo, W. W., Loh, Y. R., Zhang, Z., Ng, E. Y., Wang, W., Keller, T. H., Luo, D. and Kang, C. (2017), Structural characterization of the linked NS2B-NS3 protease of Zika virus. FEBS Lett, 591: 2338–2347. doi:10.1002/1873-3468.12741
The Zika NS2B-NS3 protease is an important drug target. The conventional flaviviral protease constructs used for structural studies contain the NS2B cofactor region linked to NS3 protease domain via a glycine-rich flexible linker. Here, we examined the structural dynamics of this conventional Zika protease (gZiPro) using NMR spectroscopy. Although the glycine-rich linker in gZiPro does not alter the overall folding of the protease in solution, gZiPro is not homogenous in ion exchange chromatography. Compared to the unlinked protease construct, the artificial linker affects the chemical environment of many residues including H51 in the catalytic triad. Our study provides a direct comparison of ZIKV protease constructs with and without an artificial linker.
(1) a start-up grant from Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, (2) National Medical Research Council grant CBRG15May045, (3) National Research Foundation grant NRF2016NRF-CRP001-063 to D.L. (4) A*STAR JCO grant (1431AFG102/1331A028)