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J Virol. 2008 Aug;82(15):7729-34. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00326-08. Epub 2008 May 21.

Formation of guanosine(5')tetraphospho(5')adenosine cap structure by an unconventional mRNA capping enzyme of vesicular stomatitis virus.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics, Section of Virology, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.


The RNA-dependent RNA polymerase L protein of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) elicits GTPase and RNA:GDP polyribonucleotidyltransferase (PRNTase) activities to produce a 5'-cap core structure, guanosine(5')triphospho(5')adenosine (GpppA), on viral mRNAs. Here, we report that the L protein produces an unusual cap structure, guanosine(5')tetraphospho(5')adenosine (GppppA), that is formed by the transfer of the 5'-monophosphorylated viral mRNA start sequence to GTP by the PRNTase activity before the removal of the gamma-phosphate from GTP by GTPase. Interestingly, GppppA-capped and polyadenylated full-length mRNAs were also found to be synthesized by an in vitro transcription system with the native VSV RNP.

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