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Study reveals the proteins expressed by human cytomegalovirus
Date:11/22/2012

protein-coding potential, based largely on computational methods, were far from complete. So, they began mapping the positions of ribosomesthe cellular organelles in which proteins are synthesizedduring an HCMV infection of human fibroblast cells. With the resulting map, Stern-Ginossar and her colleagues discovered templates for hundreds of previously unidentified proteins that were encoded in corresponding DNA segments of the viral genome, known as open reading frames.

Surprisingly, the researchers found that many of these open reading frames encode for exceptionally short protein sequences (fewer than 100 amino acids). And some of the newly identified open reading frames were even hiding inside other open reading frames, they say.

"A key finding of our work is that each of these templates can encode more than one protein," said Annette Michalski from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany, another co-author of the Science report. "And these extremely short proteins might be more common than we expect."

The researchers applied mass spectrometry to confirm the presence of many unknown viral proteins that had been predicted by mapping the ribosome positions.

In the future, this coupling of ribosome profiling with mass spectrometry might be used to investigate the proteomes of other complex viruses. Eventually, such information could be used to understand how different viruses hijack their hosts' cells for their own purposes.


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Contact: Natasha Pinol
npinol@aaas.org
202-326-6440
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Source:Eurekalert

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