Structure of a zinc-binding domain in the Junín virus envelope glycoprotein

Klára Briknarová, Celestine J. Thomas, Joanne York, Jack H. Nunberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Arenaviruses cause acute hemorrhagic fevers with high mortality. Entry of the virus into the host cell is mediated by the viral envelope glycoprotein, GPC. In contrast to other class I viral envelope glycoproteins, the mature GPC complex contains a cleaved stable signal peptide (SSP) in addition to the canonical receptor-binding (G1) and transmembrane fusion (G2) subunits. SSP is critical for intracellular transport of the GPC complex to the cell surface and for its membrane-fusion activity. Previous studies have suggested that SSP is retained in GPC through interaction with a zinc-binding domain (ZBD) in the cytoplasmic tail of G2. Here we used NMR spectroscopy to determine the structure of Junín virus (JUNV) ZBD (G2 residues 445-485) and investigate its interaction with a conserved Cys residue (Cys-57) in SSP. We show that JUNV ZBD displays a novel fold containing two zinc ions. One zinc ion is coordinated by His-447, His-449, Cys-455, and His-485. The second zinc ion is coordinated by His-459, Cys-467, and Cys-469 and readily accepts Cys-57 from SSP as the fourth ligand. Our studies describe the structural basis for retention of the unique SSP subunit and suggest a mechanism whereby SSP is positioned in the GPC complex to modulate pH-dependent membrane fusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1528-1536
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 14 2011


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