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

Viral escape from antisense RNA.

RNA coliphage SP was propagated for several generations on a host expressing an inhibitory antisense RNA complementary to bases 31-270 of the positive-stranded genome. Phages evolved that escaped inhibition. Typically, these escape mutants contained 3-4 base substitutions, but different sequences were observed among different isolates. The mutations were located within three different types of structural features within the predicted secondary structure of SP genomic RNA: (i) hairpin loops; (ii) hairpin stems; and (iii) the 5' region of the phage genome complementary to the antisense molecule. Computer modelling of the mutant genomic RNAs showed that all of the substitutions within hairpin stems improved the Watson-Crick pairing of the stem. No major structural rearrangements were predicted for any of the mutant genomes, and most substitutions in coding regions did not alter the amino acid sequence. Although the evolved phage populations were polymorphic for substitutions, many substitutions appeared independently in two selected lines. The creation of a new, perfect, antisense RNA against an escape mutant resulted in the inhibition of that mutant but not of other escape mutants nor of the ancestral, unevolved phage. Thus, at least in this system, a population of viruses that evolved to escape from a single antisense RNA would require a cocktail of several antisense RNAs for inhibition.[1]


  1. Viral escape from antisense RNA. Bull, J.J., Jacobson, A., Badgett, M.R., Molineux, I.J. Mol. Microbiol. (1998) [Pubmed]
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