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EMBO J. 1994 Feb 15;13(4):928-33.

Foot-and-mouth disease virus 2A oligopeptide mediated cleavage of an artificial polyprotein.

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AFRC Institute for Animal Health, Pirbright Laboratory, Woking, Surrey, UK.


We describe the construction of a plasmid (pCAT2AGUS) encoding a polyprotein in which a 19 amino acid sequence spanning the 2A region of the foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) polyprotein was inserted between the reporter genes chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (CAT) and beta-glucuronidase (GUS) maintaining a single, long open reading frame. Analysis of translation reactions programmed by this construct showed that the inserted FMDV sequence functioned in a manner similar to that observed in FMDV polyprotein processing: the CAT2AGUS polyprotein underwent a cotranslational, apparently autoproteolytic, cleavage yielding CAT-2A and GUS. Analysis of translation products derived from a series of constructs in which sequences were progressively deleted from the N-terminal region of the FMDV 2A insertion showed that cleavage required a minimum of 13 residues. The FMDV 2A sequence therefore provides the opportunity to engineer either whole proteins or domains such that they are cleaved apart cotranslationally with high efficiency.

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