The hepatitis C virus (HCV) NS5B protein is the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase required for replication of the HCV RNA genome. We have identified a peptide that most closely resembles a short region of the protein kinase C-related kinase 2 (PRK2) by screening of a random 12-mer peptide library displayed on the surface of the M13 bacteriophage with NS5B proteins immobilized on microwell plates. Competitive phage enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay with a synthetic peptide showed that the phage clone displaying this peptide could bind HCV RNA polymerase with a high affinity. Coimmunoprecipitation and colocalization studies demonstrated in vivo interaction of NS5B with PRK2. In vitro kinase assays demonstrated that PRK2 specifically phosphorylates NS5B by interaction with the N-terminal finger domain of NS5B (amino acids 1-187). Consistent with the in vitro NS5B-phosphorylating activity of PRK2, we detected the phosphorylated form of NS5B by metabolic cell labeling. Furthermore, HCV NS5B immunoprecipitated from HCV subgenomic replicon cells was specifically recognized by an antiphosphoserine antibody. Knock-down of the endogenous PRK2 expression using a PRK2-specific small interfering RNA inhibited HCV RNA replication. In contrast, PRK2 overexpression, which was accompanied by an increase of in the level of its active form, dramatically enhanced HCV RNA replication. Altogether, our results indicate that HCV RNA replication is regulated by NS5B phosphorylation by PRK2.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology