Structural biology of the arterivirus nsp11 endoribonucleases

Manfeng Zhang, Xiaorong Li, Zengqin Deng, Zhenhang Chen, Yang Liu, Yina Gao, Wei Wu, Zhongzhou Chen

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10 Scopus citations


Endoribonuclease (NendoU) is unique and conserved as a major genetic marker in nidoviruses that infect vertebrate hosts. Arterivirus nonstructural protein 11 (nsp11) was shown to have NendoU activity and play essential roles in the viral life cycle. Here, we report three crystal structures of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) and equine arteritis virus (EAV) nsp11 mutants. The structures of arterivirus nsp11 contain two conserved compact domains: the N-terminal domain (NTD) and C-terminal domain (CTD). The structures of PRRSV and EAV endoribonucleases are similar and conserved in the arterivirus, but they are greatly different from that of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses (CoV), representing important human pathogens in the Nidovirales order. The catalytic center of NendoU activity is located in the CTD, where a positively charged groove is next to the key catalytic residues conserved in nidoviruses. Although the NTD is nearly identical, the catalytic region of the arterivirus nsp11 family proteins is remarkably flexible, and the oligomerization may be concentration dependent. In summary, our structures provide new insight into this key multifunctional NendoU family of proteins and lay a foundation for better understanding of the molecular mechanism and antiviral drug development.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01309-16
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Arterivirus
  • Crystal structures
  • EAV
  • Flexibility
  • Mutagenesis
  • NendoU
  • Nsp11

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    Zhang, M., Li, X., Deng, Z., Chen, Z., Liu, Y., Gao, Y., Wu, W., & Chen, Z. (2017). Structural biology of the arterivirus nsp11 endoribonucleases. Journal of virology, 91(1), [e01309-16].