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Virology. 1994 Jul;202(1):258-63.

RNA structural requirements for stability and minus-strand synthesis in the dsRNA bacteriophage phi 6.

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Department of Microbiology, Public Health Research Institute, New York, New York 10016.


Bacteriophage phi 6 has a genome consisting of three segments of double-stranded RNA designated L, M, and S. Each virion contains one of each genomic segment. Empty procapsids can package plus-strand transcripts of the genomic segments if the 5' regions are intact. Minus-strand synthesis takes place if all three segments are packaged and if the 3' end of the segment is intact. The 3' ends of the segments contain four hairpin structures within a region of high sequence conservation. We now show that removal of parts of this region leads to progressive but limited loss of ability to support minus-strand synthesis. The defective 3' ends can be corrected by heterologous recombination with the termini of other segments. Segments that have small deletions in the conserved region and that support apparently normal minus-strand synthesis are highly recombinogenic.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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