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Structural investigation of orf virus bcl-2 homolog orfv125 interactions with bh3-motifs from bh3-only proteins puma and hrk

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posted on 2021-08-18, 05:34 authored by Chathura SuraweeraChathura Suraweera, MG Hinds, Marc KvansakulMarc Kvansakul
Numerous viruses have evolved sophisticated countermeasures to hijack the early programmed cell death of host cells in response to infection, including the use of proteins homologous in sequence or structure to Bcl-2. Orf virus, a member of the parapoxviridae, encodes for the Bcl-2 homolog ORFV125, a potent inhibitor of Bcl-2-mediated apoptosis in the host. ORFV125 acts by directly engaging host proapoptotic Bcl-2 proteins including Bak and Bax as well as the BH3-only proteins Hrk and Puma. Here, we determined the crystal structures of ORFV125 bound to the BH3 motif of proapoptotic proteins Puma and Hrk. The structures reveal that ORFV125 engages proapoptotic BH3 motif peptides using the canonical ligand binding groove. An Arg located in the structurally equivalent BH1 region of ORFV125 forms an ionic interaction with the conserved Asp in the BH3 motif in a manner that mimics the canonical ionic interaction seen in host Bcl-2:BH3 motif complexes. These findings provide a structural basis for Orf virus-mediated inhibition of host cell apoptosis and reveal the flexibility of virus encoded Bcl-2 proteins to mimic key interactions from endogenous host signalling pathways.


This research was funded by La Trobe University (Scholarship to C.D.S.).


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