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Nucleic Acids Res. 1990 Jun 11;18(11):3241-7.

All subgenomic mRNAs of equine arteritis virus contain a common leader sequence.

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Department of Virology, Veterinary Faculty, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands.


During the replication of equine arteritis virus (EAV) six subgenomic mRNAs are synthesized. We present evidence that the viral mRNAs form a 3'-coterminal nested set and contain a common leader sequence of 208 nucleotides which is encoded by the 5'-end of the genome. The leader is joined to the bodies of mRNA 5 and 6 at positions defined by the sequence 5' UCAAC 3'. The part of the leader sequence flanking the UCAAC motif is very similar to the 5'-splice site of the Tetrahymena pre-rRNA. A possible internal guide sequence has been identified 43 nucleotides downstream of the leader sequence on the genome. Hybridization analysis shows that all EAV intracellular RNAs contain the leader sequence. These data imply that the viral subgenomic mRNAs are composed of leader and body sequences which are non-contiguous on the genome.

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