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Mouse hepatitis virus S RNA sequence reveals that nonstructural proteins ns4 and ns5a are not essential for murine coronavirus replication

Mouse hepatitis virus S RNA sequence reveals that nonstructural proteins ns4 and ns5a are not essential for murine coronavirus replication

Journal of Virology 65(10): 5605-5608

Genes 4 and 5 of mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) are known to encode nonstructural proteins ns4, ns5a, and ns5b, whose function is unknown. In this study, we demonstrated that one of the MHV strains, MHV-S, did not synthesize mRNA 4 and made a smaller mRNA 5. Sequence analysis showed that the transcription initiation site for gene 4 of MHV-S was mutated from the consensus UCUAAAC to UUUAAAC, consistent with the idea that mutations in this region abolish mRNA synthesis. Furthermore, within gene 5 there were deletions totaling 307 nucleotides which deleted almost all of open reading frame 5a, but preserved open reading frame 5b of gene 5. Comparison of the growth of MHV-S with other MHV strains in DBT cells revealed no significant growth defect in MHV-S. These results suggest that ns4 and ns5a are not essential for viral replication in tissue culture cells, and thus join gene 2 and the hemagglutinin-esterase (HE) gene as nonessential viral genes in MHV.

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Accession: 007572751

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PMID: 1654456

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