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J Gen Virol. 2012 Jan;93(Pt 1):113-8. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.035485-0. Epub 2011 Sep 14.

The accumulation of influenza A virus segment 7 spliced mRNAs is regulated by the NS1 protein.

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Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3RE, UK.


The influenza A virus M1 mRNA is alternatively spliced to produce M2 mRNA, mRNA(3), and in some cases, M4 mRNA. Splicing of influenza mRNAs is carried out by the cellular splicing machinery and is thought to be regulated, as both spliced and unspliced mRNAs encode proteins. In this study, we used radioactively labelled primers to investigate the accumulation of spliced and unspliced M segment mRNAs in viral infection and ribonucleoprotein (RNP) reconstitution assays in which only the minimal components required for transcription and replication to occur were expressed. We found that co-expression of the viral NS1 protein in an RNP reconstitution assay altered the accumulation of spliced mRNAs compared with when it was absent, and that this activity was dependent on the RNA-binding ability of NS1. These findings suggest that the NS1 protein plays a role in the regulation of splicing of influenza virus M1 mRNA.

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