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Virology. 2008 Sep 1;378(2):377-84. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2008.05.033. Epub 2008 Jul 9.

RNA polymerase I-mediated expression of viral RNA for the rescue of infectious virulent and avirulent Rift Valley fever viruses.

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Institut Pasteur, Unité de Génétique Moléculaire des Bunyavirus, 25 rue du Dr Roux, 75724 Paris Cedex, France.


Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV, Bunyaviridae, Phlebovirus) is a mosquito-transmitted arbovirus that causes human and animal diseases in sub-Saharan Africa and was introduced into the Arabian Peninsula in 2000. Here, we describe a method of reverse genetics to recover infectious RVFV from transfected plasmids based on the use of the cellular RNA polymerase I promoter to synthesize viral transcripts. We compared its efficiency with a system using T7 RNA polymerase and found that both are equally efficient for the rescue of RVFV generating titers of approx. 10(7) to 10(8) pfu/ml. We used the RNA polymerase I-based system to rescue both attenuated MP12 and virulent ZH548 strains as well as chimeric MP12-ZH548 viruses, and in addition RVFV expressing reporter proteins.

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