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Virology. 1989 Jul;171(1):189-204.

In vitro synthesis of infectious venezuelan equine encephalitis virus RNA from a cDNA clone: analysis of a viable deletion mutant.

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Department of Microbiology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695.


A molecular clone of Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEE) was constructed from four cDNAs that were synthesized using the viral RNA genome as template. Together, these cDNAs are believed to represent all but the nine 5'-terminal nucleotides of the VEE genome sequence. A T7 promoter, followed by a single intervening G residue, and the exact 5'-terminus of VEE were added to the 5'-most clone using in vitro mutagenesis. Appropriate restriction fragments isolated from the cloned cDNAs were joined to form a candidate full-length VEE cDNA clone. RNA transcripts synthesized in vitro from the cDNA clone were able to initiate a productive infection in DEAE-dextran-treated chicken embryo fibroblasts (CEF). VEE antigens were demonstrated in RNA-transfected cells, and supernatants from transfected cultures contained infectious virus particles. The candidate full-length cDNA clone lacked 102 nucleotides of the VEE genome sequence. The deletion, which also was present in the genomes of progeny virions derived from the clone, did not appear to affect growth in cultured CEF, baby hamster kidney cells, or Vero cells. The site of the deletion was mapped to the 3'-end of the nsP3 gene by comparison to other alphavirus sequences. In this region, the VEE genome sequence includes two tandem 102-nucleotide repeats which can be arranged in a stable stem and loop structure. The sequence remaining in the deleted clone retains one copy of the duplicated sequence and, in addition, faithfully preserves a portion of the predicted stem.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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