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

In vitro transcription of the double-stranded RNA bacteriophage phi 6 is influenced by purine NTPs and calcium.

The double-stranded RNA bacteriophage phi 6 contains a virion-associated RNA-dependent RNA polymerase complex. Removal of the virus envelope and the nucleocapsid surface protein, P8, reveals a nucleocapsid core particle (proteins P1, P2, P4, P7) which is the viral polymerase complex, capable of synthesizing RNA strands of positive polarity. The in vitro plus strand synthesis (transcription) reaction of the particle obtained from the mature virion was optimized and its activation and inactivation were investigated. Purine nucleoside triphosphates (NTPs), binding to a low-affinity binding site in the polymerase complex, activated plus strand synthesis. GTP was the preferred NTP, but dGTP, ddGTP, and the noncleavable analog GMP-PCP could also switch on transcription. This NTP-binding site is probably different from that of the unspecific viral NTPase found in protein P4 and also from that of the rNTP-specific RNA polymerase active site. Binding of purine NTPs was sufficient for the switch-on; hydrolysis of the NTP was not required. Besides nucleotides, divalent cations had an effect on phi 6 in vitro plus strand synthesis. Magnesium ions are required for the activity but calcium ions inhibit the reaction. Manganese ions are shown to dissipate the effect of magnesium and calcium ions, leading to uncontrolled, exceptionally high level plus strand synthesis.[1]


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