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The 3' untranslated region of coronavirus RNA is required for subgenomic mRNA transcription from a defective interfering RNA



The 3' untranslated region of coronavirus RNA is required for subgenomic mRNA transcription from a defective interfering RNA



Journal of Virology 70(10): 7236-7240



The 3'-end of mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) genomic RNA contains a recognition sequence (55 nucleotides (nt)) required for minus-strand RNA synthesis. To determine whether the 3'-end sequence is also involved in subgenomic mRNA transcription, we have constructed MHV defective interfering (DI) RNAs which contain a chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) gene placed behind an intergenic sequence and a 3'-end sequence with various degrees of internal deletions. The DI RNAs were transfected into MHV-infected cells, and CAT activities, which represent subgenomic mRNA transcription from the intergenic site. were determined. The results demonstrated that the deletions of sequence upstream of the 350 nt at the 3'-end, which include the 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR), of MHV genomic RNA did not affect subgenomic mRNA transcription. However, deletions that reduced the 3'-end sequences to 270 nt or less completely abolished the mRNA transcription despite the fact that all of these clones synthesized minus-strand RNAs. These results indicated that mRNA transcription from an intergenic site in the MHV DI RNA requires most of the 3'-UTR as a cis-acting signal, which likely exerts its effects during plus-strand RNA synthesis. A substitution of the corresponding bovine coronavirus sequence for the MHV sequence within nt 270 to 305 from the 3'-end abrogated the CAT gene expression, suggesting a very rigid sequence requirement in this region. The deletion of a putative pseudoknot structure within the 3'-UTR also abolished the CAT gene expression. These findings suggest that the 3'-UTR may interact with the other RNA regulatory elements to regulate mRNA transcription.

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Accession: 009528468

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PMID: 8794374


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