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Virus Genes. 1990 Jul;4(2):121-36.

RNA pseudoknots: translational frameshifting and readthrough on viral RNAs.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Leiden, The Netherlands.


Ribosomal frameshifting on retroviral RNAs has been proposed to be mediated by slippage of two adjacent tRNAs into the -1 direction at a specific heptanucleotide sequence. Here we report a computer-aided analysis of the structure around the established or putative frameshift sites in a number of retroviral, coronaviral, toroviral, and luteoviral RNAs and two dsRNA yeast viruses. In almost all cases a stable hairpin was predicted four to nine nucleotides downstream of the shifty heptanucleotide. More than half of the resulting hairpin loops give rise to potential pseudoknotting with sequences downstream of this hairpin. Especially in the case of the shifty heptanucleotides U UUA AAC and G GGA AAC, stable downstream pseudoknots are present. Indications were also found for the presence of pseudoknots downstream of amber stop condons at readthrough sites in some retroviral RNAs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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