Inhibition of ricin A-chain (RTA) catalytic activity by a viral genome-linked protein (VPg).

Biochim Biophys Acta Proteins Proteom 2019 Jun 27;1867(6):645-653. Epub 2019 Feb 27.

Department of Sciences, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the City University of New York, New York 10019, NY, United States of America. Electronic address:

Ricin is a plant derived protein toxin produced by the castor bean plant (Ricinus communis). The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) classifies ricin as a Category B biological agent. Currently, there is neither an effective vaccine that can be used to protect against ricin exposure nor a therapeutic to reverse the effects once exposed. Here we quantitatively characterize interactions between catalytic ricin A-chain (RTA) and a viral genome-linked protein (VPg) from turnip mosaic virus (TuMV). VPg and its N-terminal truncated variant, VPg, bind to RTA and abolish ricin's catalytic depurination of 28S rRNA in vitro and in a cell-free rabbit reticulocyte translational system. RTA and VPg bind in a 1 to 1 stoichiometric ratio, and their binding affinity increases ten-fold as temperature elevates (5 °C to 37 °C). RTA-VPg binary complex formation is enthalpically driven and favored by entropy, resulting in an overall favorable energy, ΔG = -136.8 kJ/mol. Molecular modeling supports our experimental observations and predicts a major contribution of electrostatic interactions, suggesting an allosteric mechanism of downregulation of RTA activity through conformational changes in RTA structure, and/or disruption of binding with the ribosomal stalk. Fluorescence anisotropy studies show that heat affects the rate constant and the activation energy for the RTA-VPg complex, Ea = -62.1 kJ/mol. The thermodynamic and kinetic findings presented here are an initial lead study with promising results and provides a rational approach for synthesis of therapeutic peptides that successfully eliminate toxicity of ricin, and other cytotoxic RIPs.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbapap.2019.02.002DOI Listing

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June 2019
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