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Mol Cells. 2006 Feb 28;21(1):112-20.

Characterization of homologous defective interfering RNA during persistent infection of Vero cells with Japanese encephalitis virus.

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Department of Biology and Research Institute of Basic Sciences, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-701, Korea.


It has been suggested that defective interfering (DI) RNA contributes to the persistence of Japanese en-cephalitis virus (JEV). In this study, we characterized molecular and biological aspects of the DI RNA and its relation to viral persistence. We identified a homolo-gous DI virus intimately associated with JEV persis-tence in Vero cells. The production of DI RNA during undiluted serial passages of JEV coincided with the appearance of cells refractory to acute infection with JEV. We also established a Vero cell clone with a per-sistent JEV infection in which the DI RNA co-replicated efficiently at the expense of helper virus. The infectious virus yield of the clone fluctuated dur-ing its growth depending upon the amount of DI RNA accumulated in the previous replication cycle. Identifi-cation of the corresponding negative-sense RNA of the DI RNA indicated that the DI RNA functioned as a replication unit. Most of the DI RNA molecules re-tained their open reading frames despite a large dele-tion, encompassing most of the prM, the entire E, and the 5' half of the NS1 gene. Taken together, these ob-servations suggest that the generation of homologous DI RNA during successive JEV acute infections in Vero cells probably participates actively in persistent JEV infection.

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