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Virology. 1992 May;188(1):402-7.

Coronavirus mRNA synthesis: identification of novel transcription initiation signals which are differentially regulated by different leader sequences.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Southern California, School of Medicine, Los Angeles 90033.


The mRNA synthesis of mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) has been proposed to be the result of interaction between the leader RNA and the intergenic sites. Previously, we have identified a transcription initiation site (for mRNA 2-1), which is more efficiently transcribed by viruses containing two copies of UCUAA sequence in the leader RNA than by those with three copies. In this study, we have identified several sites which are regulated in the opposite way, namely, they are efficiently transcribed by the leader RNA with three UCUAA copies but not by those with two copies. These sites were characterized by primer extension and amplification by polymerase chain reaction. One of these sites is in the gene 3 region of a recombinant virus between A59 and JHM strains of MHV. Another is in the gene 2 region of MHV-1 strain. Both of these sites have a sequence similar to but different from the consensus transcription initiation signal (UCUAAUCUAUC and UUUAAUCUU, as opposed to UCUAAAC). These two novel intergenic sequences are not present in the genome of the JHM strain, consistent with the absence of these mRNAs in the JHM-infected cells. The discovery of this type of transcription initiation site provides additional evidence for the importance of the leader RNA in the transcription initiation of MHV mRNAs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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