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Biochimie. 1993;75(8):741-7.

Mutational analysis of AUG codons of cowpea mosaic virus M RNA.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Agricultural University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.


The involvement of the AUG codons at positions 115, 161, 512 and 524 in translation and infectivity of cowpea mosaic virus M RNA was studied. Mutations were introduced in each of these codons in a full length cDNA clone of M RNA and the effect of the mutations was examined by translation from in vitro transcripts of these mutant cDNAs in rabbit reticulocyte lysates and by checking the replication of these transcripts in the presence of B RNA in cowpea protoplasts and plants. It was found that AUG115, at the beginning of an open reading frame (ORF) for a putative 2-kDa protein, can be used in vitro to initiate translation, but mutation of this AUG codon in the M RNA does not affect the ability of the virus to infect cowpea plants. AUG161, located at the beginning of the large ORF, was shown to be essential for expression of the large 105-kDa polyprotein and for replication of M RNA. Translation of the second 95-kDa polyprotein was found to start at AUG512. Upon mutation of this AUG codon efficient initiation of translation occurred at AUG524. Results with M RNAs that lack AUG512 and/or 524 indicate that an intact 95-kDa polyprotein is not required for replication of M RNA but that this protein has an essential function in cell-to-cell movement of the virus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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