Phosphorylation of the hepadnavirus core protein C-terminal domain (CTD) is important for viral RNA packaging, reverse transcription, and subcellular localization. Hepadnavirus capsids also package a cellular kinase. The identity of thehost kinase that phosphorylates the core CTD or gets packaged remains to be resolved. In particular, both the human hepatitis B virus (HBV) and duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) core CTDs harbor several conserved serine/threonine-proline (S/T-P) sites whose phosphorylation state is known to regulate CTD functions. We report here that the endogenous kinase inthe HBV capsids was blocked bychemical inhibitors of the cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs), in particular, CDK2 inhibitors. The kinase phosphorylat the HBV CTD at the serine-proline (S-P) sites. Furthermore, we were able to detect CDK2 in purified HBV capsids by immunoblotting. Purified CDK2 phosphorylated the S/T-P sites of the HBV and DHBV CTD in vitro. Inhibitors of CDKs, of CDK2 in particular, decreased both HBV and DHBV CTD phosphorylation in vivo. Moreover, CDK2 inhibitorsblocked DHBV CTD phosphorylation, specifically at the S/T-P sites, in a mammalian cell lysate. These results indicate that cellular CDK2 phosphorylates the functionally critical S/T-P sites of the hepadnavirus core CTD and is incorporated into viral capsids.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science