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Virology. 1995 Aug 1;211(1):320-3.

Differentiation between minus- and plus-strand synthesis: polymerase activity of dsRNA bacteriophage phi 6 in an in vitro packaging and replication system.

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Department of Biosciences, University of Helsinki, Finland.


Empty procapsids of the segmented dsRNA virus phi 6, produced in Escherichia coli from a cloned L genome segment, package plus-strand phi 6 ssRNA genomic segments, synthesize minus strands, and transcribe the newly formed dsRNA templates. Procapsids can be restricted to minus-strand synthesis by high concentrations of CaCl2 or low concentrations of nucleotides, enabling us to separate the viral minus-strand (replication) and plus-strand (transcription) RNA-dependent RNA polymerase activities in vitro. Reaction conditions for minus-strand synthesis were optimized. Plus-strand synthesis by procapsids could be activated by binding of purine nucleoside triphosphates to a low-affinity NTP-binding site. The second 5'-terminal nucleotide of the phi 6 plus-sense ssRNA L genomic segment is important for determining the level of transcription of that segment and the generation of infectious procapsids.

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