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The innate immune response provides our first line of defence against infection. Over the course of evolution, pathogens have evolved numerous strategies to either avoid activating or to limit the effectiveness of the innate immune system. The Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) contains tegument proteins in the virion that contribute to immune evasion and aid the establishment of viral infection. For example, the KSHV tegument protein ORF63 modulates inflammasome activation to inhibit the innate immune response against the virus. Understanding the likely structure of proteins involved in immune evasion enables potential mechanisms of action to be proposed. To understand more fully how ORF63 modulates the innate immune system we have utilized widely available bioinformatics tools to analyze the primary protein sequence of ORF63 and to predict its secondary and tertiary structure. We found that ORF63 is predicted to be almost entirely alpha-helical and may possess similarity to HEAT repeat containing proteins. Consequently, ORF63 is unlikely to be a viral homolog of the NLR protein family. ORF63 may inhibit the innate immune response by flexibly interacting with its target protein and inhibiting the recruitment of protein co-factors and/or conformational changes required for immune signaling. Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Joseph P Boyle, Tom P Monie. Computational analysis predicts the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus tegument protein ORF63 to be alpha helical. Proteins. 2012 Aug;80(8):2063-70

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PMID: 22513832

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