Cyclophilin B stimulates RNA synthesis by the HCV RNA dependent RNA polymerase

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Cyclophilins are cellular peptidyl isomerases that have been implicated in regulating hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication. Cyclophilin B (CypB) is a target of cyclosporin A (CsA), an immunosuppressive drug recently shown to suppress HCV replication in cell culture. Watashi et al. recently demonstrated that CypB is important for efficient HCV replication, and proposed that it mediates the anti-HCV effects of CsA through an interaction with NS5B [Watashi K, Ishii N, Hijikata M, Inoue D, Murata T, Miyanari Y, et al. Cyclophilin B is a functional regulator of hepatitis C virus RNA polymerase. Mol Cell 2005;19:111-22]. We examined the effects of purified CypB proteins on the enzymatic activity of NS5B. Recombinant CypB purified from insect cells directly stimulated NS5B-catalyzed RNA synthesis. CypB increased RNA synthesis by NS5B derived from genotype 1a, 1b, and 2a HCV strains. Stimulation appears to arise from an increase in productive RNA binding. NS5B residue Pro540, a previously proposed target of CypB peptidyl-prolyl isomerase activity, is not required for stimulation of RNA synthesis.

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