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Virology. 1988 Nov;167(1):176-84.

Organization of the adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsid gene: mapping of a minor spliced mRNA coding for virus capsid protein.

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Department of Virology, Institute for Hygiene and Medical Microbiology, University of Berne, Friedbuehlstrasse 51, CH-3010 Berne, Switzerland.


We have mapped a minor spliced transcript with mRNA properties which is derived from the capsid gene promoter (P40) of the adeno-associated virus (AAV) genome. By S1 nuclease mapping as well as primer extension analysis this mRNA was found to occur by splicing at the same donor site (nucleotide, NT 1907) but at an alternative acceptor site when compared to the major, 2.3-kb spliced P40 transcript which encodes two of the three AAV capsid proteins, namely VP2 and VP3. This minor acceptor site is located at NT 2200, i.e., 27 NT upstream of the acceptor site used to generate the VP2/VP3 mRNA. We have also sequenced the AAV genome in this region and have found one important error in the sequence published by A. Srivastava, E. Lusby, and K. I. Berns (1983, J. Virol. 45, 555-564): residue at NT 2429 has to be deleted from the reported sequence. This correction of the sequence reveals that the open reading frame (ORF) which encodes all three capsid proteins extends from NT 2203 to NT 4321. Furthermore, this entire ORF is contained in the minor but not in the major spliced P40 transcript. We provide evidence that the largest AAV structural protein VP1 is translated from this hitherto undetected spliced transcript by initiation at its first AUG (NT 2203) and termination at NT 4321. The calculated molecular weight of this VP1 polypeptide is 78,247 Da.


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