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J Biochem. 1989 Apr;105(4):537-46.

Control of influenza virus gene expression: quantitative analysis of each viral RNA species in infected cells.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, National Institute of Genetics, Shizuoka.


We established a quantitative hybridization system by which three types of influenza virus RNAs (vRNA, mRNA, and cRNA) for the 8 genome segments were measured individually. As the hybridization probes, 32P-labeled RNAs of both plus and minus polarity were produced employing an SP-6 transcription system and used in a large molar excess, sufficient to overcome complementary RNAs present in the viral RNA samples. Employing the system, we studied the control of the synthesis of each viral RNA species in MDCK cells infected with A/Udorn/72 (H3N2). Our new observations were as follows. 1) Segment-specific transcription was observed at the primary transcription. 2) Replication of the virus genome began simultaneously for all segments. No delay was observed in the replication of the segments carrying late genes. 3) In addition to control at the transcriptional levels, the expression of viral late genes was regulated at some post-transcriptional step(s). These results are not compatible with the concepts reported previously, and lead us to propose unique regulations operating on the expression of the viral late genes.

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