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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Minus-strand initiation by brome mosaic virus replicase within the 3' tRNA-like structure of native and modified RNA templates.

An RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (replicase) extract from brome mosaic virus-infected barley leaves has been shown to initiate synthesis of (-) sense RNA from (+) sense virion RNA. Initiation occurred de novo, as demonstrated by the incorporation of [gamma-32P]GTP into the product. Sequencing using cordycepin triphosphate to terminate (-) strands during their synthesis by the replicase generated sequence ladders that confirmed that copying was accurate, and that initiation occurred very close to the 3' end. The precise site of initiation was further defined by testing the replicase template activity after stepwise removal of 3'-terminal nucleotides. Whereas removal of the terminal A did not decrease template activity, removal of the next nucleotide (C-2) did. Thus, initiation almost certainly occurs opposite the penultimate 3'-nucleotide (C-2) in vitro. The structure of the double-stranded replicative form of RNA isolated from brome mosaic virus-infected leaves was consistent with such a mechanism occurring in vivo, in that it lacked the 3'-terminal A found on virion RNAs. The specific site of (-) strand initiation and normal template activity were retained for RNAs with as many as 15 to 30 A residues added to the 3' end. However, only limited oligonucleotide 3' extensions can be present on active templates. In order to assess the 5' extent of sequences required for an active template, a 134-nucleotide-long fragment of brome mosaic virus RNA, corresponding to the tRNA-like structure, was generated. This RNA had high template activity, but a shorter 3' (85-nucleotide) fragment was inactive. RNAs with various heterologous sequences 5' to position 134 also showed high template activity. Thus, the 3'-terminal tRNA-like structure common to all four brome mosaic virus virion RNAs contains all of the signals required for initiation of replication, and sequences 5' to it do not play a role in template selection.[1]


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