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Virology. 2011 Aug 15;417(1):79-86. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2011.05.008. Epub 2011 Jun 8.

Mutational analysis of three predicted 5'-proximal stem-loop structures in the genome of tick-borne encephalitis virus indicates different roles in RNA replication and translation.

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1
Department of Virology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Abstract

Flavivirus gene expression is modulated by RNA secondary structure elements at the terminal ends of the viral RNA molecule. For tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV), four stem-loop (SL) elements have been predicted in the first 180 nucleotides of the viral genome: 5'-SL1, 5'-SL2, 5'-SL3 and 5'-SL4. The last three of these appear to be unique to tick-borne flaviviruses. Here, we report their characterization by mutagenesis in a TBEV luciferase reporter system. By manipulating their thermodynamic properties, we found that an optimal stability of the 5'-SL2 is required for efficient RNA replication. 5'-SL3 formation is also important for viral RNA replication, but although it contains the viral start codon, its formation is dispensable for RNA translation. 5'-SL4 appears to facilitate both RNA translation and replication. Our data suggest that maintenance of the balanced thermodynamic stability of these SL elements is important for temporal regulation of its different functions.

PMID:
21645915
PMCID:
PMC3182534
DOI:
10.1016/j.virol.2011.05.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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