Macro domains constitute a protein module family found associated with specific histones and proteins involved in chromatin metabolism. In addition, a small number of animal RNA viruses, such as corona- and toroviruses, alphaviruses, and hepatitis E virus, encode macro domains for which, however, structural and functional information is extremely limited. Here, we characterized the macro domains from hepatitis E virus, Semliki Forest virus, and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV). The crystal structure of the SARS-CoV macro domain was determined at 1.8-Å resolution in complex with ADP-ribose. Information derived from structural, mutational, and sequence analyses suggests a close phylogenetic and, most probably, functional relationship between viral and cellular macro domain homologs. The data revealed that viral macro domains have relatively poor ADP-ribose 1"-phosphohydrolase activities (which were previously proposed to be their biologically relevant function) but bind efficiently free and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1-bound poly(ADP-ribose) in vitro. Collectively, these results suggest to further evaluate the role of viral macro domains in host response to viral infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas