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J Virol. 1996 Oct;70(10):6803-9.

A host factor that binds near the termini of hepatitis B virus pregenomic RNA.

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Department of Microbiology, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0414, USA.


The terminal regions of hepatitis B virus (HBV) pregenomic RNA (pgRNA) harbors sites governing many essential functions in the viral life cycle, including polyadenylation, translation, RNA encapsidation, and DNA synthesis. We have examined the binding of host proteins to a 170-nucleotide region from the 5' end of HBV pgRNA; a large portion of this region is duplicated at the 3' end of this terminally redundant RNA. By UV cross-linking labeled RNA to HepG2 cell extracts, we have identified a 65-kDa factor (p65) of nuclear origin which can specifically bind to this region. Two discrete binding sites were identified within this region; in vitro cross-competition experiments suggest that the same factor binds to both elements. One binding site (termed UBS) overlaps a portion of the highly conserved stem-loop structure (epsilon), while the other site (termed DBS) maps 35 nucleotides downstream of the hexanucleotide polyadenylation sequence. Both binding sites are highly pyrimidine rich and map to regions previously found to be important in the regulation of viral polyadenylation. However, functional analysis of mutant binding sites in vivo indicates that p65 is not involved in the polyadenylation of HBV pgRNA. Potential roles for the factor in viral replication in vivo are discussed.

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