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J Virol. 2001 May;75(10):4506-18.

"Rule of six": how does the Sendai virus RNA polymerase keep count?

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Department of Genetics and Microbiology, University of Geneva Medical School, CMU, CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland.


The "rule of six" stipulates that the Paramyxovirus RNA polymerase efficiently replicates only viral genomes counting 6n + 0 nucleotides. Because the nucleocapsid proteins (N) interact with 6 nucleotides, an exact nucleotide-N match at the RNA 3'-OH end (3'-OH congruence) may be required for recognition of an active replication promoter. Alternatively, assuming that the six positions for the interaction of N with the nucleotides are not equivalent, the nucleotide position relative to N may be critical (N phase context). The replication abilities of various minireplicons, designed so that the 3'-OH congruence could be discriminated from the N phase context, were studied. The results strongly suggest that the application of the rule of six depends on the recognition of nucleotides positioned in the proper N phase context.

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