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J Virol. 1992 May;66(5):2611-16.

In vitro packaging and replication of individual genomic segments of bacteriophage phi 6 RNA.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Public Health Research Institute, New York, New York 10016.


The genome of bacteriophage phi 6 contains three segments of double-stranded RNA. Procapsid structures whose formation was directed by cDNA copies of the large genomic segment are capable of packaging the three viral message sense RNAs in the presence of ATP. Addition of UTP, CTP, and GTP results in the synthesis of minus strands to form double-stranded RNA. In this report, we show that procapsids are capable of taking up any of the three plus-strand single-stranded RNA segments independently of the others. In manganese-containing buffers, synthesis of the corresponding minus strand takes place. In magnesium-containing buffers, individual message sense viral RNA segments were packaged, but minus-strand replication did not take place unless all three viral single-stranded RNA segments were packaged. Since the conditions of packaging in magnesium buffer more closely resemble those in vivo, these results indicated that there is no specific order or dependence in packaging and that replication is regulated so that it does not begin until all segments are in place.

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