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Virology. 2003 Jan 20;305(2):436-51.

Recovery of infectivity from cDNA clones of nodamura virus and identification of small nonstructural proteins.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 35294, USA. kylej@uab.edu


Nodamura virus (NoV) was the first isolated member of the Nodaviridae, and is the type species of the alphanodavirus genus. The alphanodaviruses infect insects; NoV is unique in that it can also lethally infect mammals. Nodaviruses have bipartite positive-sense RNA genomes in which RNA1 encodes the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase and the smaller genome segment, RNA2, encodes the capsid protein precursor. To facilitate the study of NoV, we generated infectious cDNA clones of its two genomic RNAs. Transcription of these NoV1 and NoV2 cDNAs in mammalian cells led to viral RNA replication, protein synthesis, and production of infectious virus. Subgenomic RNA3 was produced during RNA replication and encodes nonstructural proteins B1 and B2 in overlapping ORFs. Site-directed mutagenesis of these ORFs, followed by SDS-PAGE and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry analyses, showed synthesis of B1 and two forms of B2 (B2-134 and B2-137) during viral replication. We also characterized a point mutation in RNA1 far upstream of the RNA3 region that resulted in decreased RNA3 synthesis and RNA2 replication, and a reduced yield of infectious particles. The ability to reproduce the entire life cycle of this unusual nodavirus from cDNA clones will facilitate further analysis of NoV RNA replication and pathogenesis.

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