Flock house virus (FHV) encodes a suppressor protein B2 to overcome antiviral RNA silencing during infection. Biochemical analyses have shown that a homodimer of B2 binds to double-stranded RNA to inhibit dicer-mediated cleavage of dsRNA and incorporation of small interfering RNAs into the RNA-induced silencing complex. In this study, using FHV. Nicotiana benthamiana system, we identified that the charged amino acids at the N-terminus of B2 are critical for dimerization. Interestingly, B2 mutants defective in dimerization exhibited enhanced silencing suppressor activity, Furthermore, we found that the C-terminal charged amino acids are dispensable for B2 dimerization and viral RNA silencing suppression but are critical for transgene silencing suppression. Additional yeast two hybrid assays revealed that dimerization of B2 is not essential for interacting with the RNA silencing machinery. Taken together, our data provide evidence that both monomeric and dimeric B2 proteins function in different modes to suppress RNA silencing. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.
Seo, J. K., Kwon, S. J., & Rao, A. L. N. (2012). Molecular dissection of Flock house virus protein B2 reveals that electrostatic interactions between N-terminal domains of B2 monomers are critical for dimerization. Virology, 432(2), 296–305. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2012.05.023