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Virology. 2012 Sep 1;430(2):100-9. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2012.05.003. Epub 2012 May 25.

Moloney murine leukemia virus genomic RNA packaged in the absence of a full complement of wild type nucleocapsid protein.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


The current model for MLV genomic RNA (gRNA) packaging predicts that of the thousands of Gag proteins in a budding virion, only a small number (≤1%) may be necessary to recruit gRNA. Here, we examined the threshold limits of functional Gag required to package gRNA using wild-type (WT) and packaging deficient mutant nucleocapsid (NC) phenotypically mixed virions. Although gRNA packaging was severely diminished for the NC mutant, the residual encapsidated RNA dimer displayed motility on gels, thermostability, and integrity that was indistinguishable from that of WT. In phenotypically mixed virions, gRNA encapsidation recovered to within approximately two-fold of WT levels when the amount of WT NC was 5-10% of the total. Our results demonstrate that NC's roles in gRNA dimerization and packaging are genetically separable. Additionally, MLV gRNA packaging does not require 100% WT NC, but the amount of functional NC required is greater than the predicted minimum.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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