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

Analysis of astrovirus serotype 1 RNA, identification of the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase motif, and expression of a viral structural protein.

We report the results from sequence analysis and expression studies of the gastroenteritis agent astrovirus serotype 1. We have cloned and sequenced 5,944 nucleotides (nt) of the estimated 7.2-kb RNA genome and have identified three open reading frames (ORFs). ORF-3, at the 3' end, is 2,361 nt in length and is fully encoded in both the genomic and subgenomic viral RNAs. Expression of ORF-3 in vitro yields an 87-kDa protein that is immunoprecipitated with a monoclonal antibody specific for viral capsids. This protein comigrates with an authentic 87-kDa astrovirus protein immunoprecipitated from infected cells, indicating that this region encodes a viral structural protein. The adjacent upstream ORF (ORF-2) is 1,557 nt in length and contains a viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase motif. The viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase motifs from four astrovirus serotypes are compared. Partial sequence (2,018 nt) of the most 5' ORF ( ORF-1) reveals a 3C-like serine protease motif. The ORF-1 sequence is incomplete. These results indicate that the astrovirus genome is organized with nonstructural proteins encoded at the 5' end and structural proteins at the 3' end. ORF-2 has no start methionine and is in the -1 frame compared with ORF-1. We present sequence evidence for a ribosomal frameshift mechanism for expression of the viral polymerase.[1]


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