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PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e33561. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033561. Epub 2012 Mar 16.

The 3' untranslated region of the rabies virus glycoprotein mRNA specifically interacts with cellular PCBP2 protein and promotes transcript stability.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, United States of America.


Viral polymerase entry and pausing at intergenic junctions is predicted to lead to a defined polarity in the levels of rhabdovirus gene expression. Interestingly, we observed that the rabies virus glycoprotein mRNA is differentially over-expressed based on this model relative to other transcripts during infection of 293T cells. During infection, the rabies virus glycoprotein mRNA also selectively interacts with the cellular poly(rC)-binding protein 2 (PCBP2), a factor known to influence mRNA stability. Reporter assays performed both in electroporated cells and in a cell-free RNA decay system indicate that the conserved portion of the 3' UTR of the rabies virus glycoprotein mRNA contains an RNA stability element. PCBP2 specifically interacts with reporter transcripts containing this 72 base 3' UTR sequence. Furthermore, the PCBP2 interaction is directly associated with the stability of reporter transcripts. Therefore, we conclude that PCBP2 specifically and selectively interacts with the rabies virus glycoprotein mRNA and that this interaction may contribute to the post-transcriptional regulation of glycoprotein expression.

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