Genetic elements regulating packaging of the Bunyamwera orthobunyavirus genome

Kohl, A. , Lowen, A.C., Leonard, V.H.J. and Elliott, R.M. (2006) Genetic elements regulating packaging of the Bunyamwera orthobunyavirus genome. Journal of General Virology, 87, pp. 177-187.

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Abstract

The genome of Bunyamwera virus (BUN; family Bunyaviridae, genus Orthobunyavirus) comprises three segments of negative-sense, single-stranded RNA. The RNA segments are encapsidated by the viral nucleocapsid (N) protein and form panhandle-like structures through interaction of complementary sequences at their 5′ and 3′ termini. Transcription and replication of a BUN genome analogue (minireplicon), comprising the viral non-coding sequences flanking a reporter gene, requires just the viral RNA polymerase (L protein) and N protein. Here, sequences of Bunyamwera serogroup M segment RNAs were compared and conserved elements within nt 20–33 of the 3′ and 5′ non-coding regions that can affect packaging of minireplicons into virions were identified. RNA-folding models suggest that a conserved sequence within nt 20–33 of the 5′ end of the genome segments maintains conserved structural features necessary for efficient transcription. Competitive packaging experiments using M, L and S segment-derived minireplicons that encode different reporter genes showed variable packaging efficiencies of the three segments. Packaging of a particular segment appeared to be independent of the presence of other segments and, for the S segment, packaging efficiency was unaffected by the inclusion of viral coding sequences in the minireplicon.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Elliott, Professor Richard and Kohl, Professor Alain
Authors: Kohl, A., Lowen, A.C., Leonard, V.H.J., and Elliott, R.M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:Journal of General Virology
Publisher:Society for General Microbiology
ISSN:0022-1317

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