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Insights into the Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus Viral Ovarian Tumor Domain Protease Specificity for Ubiquitin and Interferon Stimulated Gene Product 15

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posted on 01.06.2018, 00:00 by Stephanie M. Bester, Courtney M. Daczkowski, Kay S. Faaberg, Scott D. Pegan
Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) is a widespread economically devastating disease caused by PRRS virus (PRRSV). First recognized in the late 1980s, PRRSV is known to undergo somatic mutations and high frequency viral recombination, which leads to many diverse viral strains. This includes differences within viral virulence factors, such as the viral ovarian tumor domain (vOTU) protease, also referred to as the papain-like protease 2. These proteases down-regulate innate immunity by deubiquitinating proteins targeted by the cell for further processing and potentially also acting against interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs). Recently, vOTUs from vaccine derivative Ingelvac PRRS modified live virus (MLV) and the highly pathogenic PRRSV strain JXwn06 were biochemically characterized, revealing a marked difference in activity toward K63 linked polyubiquitin chains and a limited preference for interferon-stimulated gene product 15 (ISG15) substrates. To extend our research, the vOTUs from NADC31 (low virulence) and SDSU73 (moderately virulent) were biochemically characterized using a myriad of ubiquitin and ISG15 related assays. The K63 polyubiquitin cleavage activity profiles of these vOTUs were found to track with the established pathogenesis of MLV, NADC31, SDSU73, and JXwn06 strains. Fascinatingly, NADC31 demonstrated significantly enhanced activity toward ISG15 substrates compared to its counterparts. Utilizing this information and strain–strain differences within the vOTU encoding region, sites were identified that can modulate K63 polyubiquitin and ISG15 cleavage activities. This information represents the basis for new tools to probe the role of vOTUs in the context of PRRSV pathogenesis.

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