Mutational analyses have indicated that the carboxyl-terminal domain (CTD) of hepadnavirus core protein and its state of phosphorylation are critical for multiple steps in viral replication. Also, CTD interacts with host proteins in a phosphorylation statedependent manner. To ascertain the role of CTD in viral replication without perturbing its sequence and the role of CTD-host interactions, CTD of the human hepatitis B virus (HBV) or duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) core protein, either the wild type (WT) or with alanine or glutamic acid/aspartic acid substitutions at the phosphorylation sites, was expressed in cells replicating DHBV with the WT core protein. A dramatic decrease in phosphorylation of the DHBV core protein (DHBc) was observed when the WT and most HBV core protein CTD (HCTD) variants were coexpressed in trans, which was accompanied by a profound reduction of viral core DNA and, in particular, the double-stranded DNA. One HCTD variant that failed to change DHBc phosphorylation also had no effect on DHBV core DNA. All WT and variant HCTDs and DHBc CTDs (DCTDs) decreased the DHBV covalently closed circular (CCC) DNA. Identification of CTD-host interactions indicated that CDK2 binding by CTD may mediate its inhibitory effect on DHBc phosphorylation and reverse transcription via competition with DHBc for the host kinase, whereas importin α binding by CTD may contribute to inhibition of CCC DNA production by competitively blocking the nuclear import of viral nucleocapsids. These results suggest the possibility of blocking multiple steps of viral replication, especially CCC DNA formation, via inhibition of CTD functions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science