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Virus Res. 2011 Dec;162(1-2):100-9. doi: 10.1016/j.virusres.2011.09.012. Epub 2011 Sep 16.

An unconventional pathway of mRNA cap formation by vesiculoviruses.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, Section of Virology, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.


mRNAs of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), a prototype of nonsegmented negative strand (NNS) RNA viruses (e.g., rabies, measles, mumps, Ebola, and Borna disease viruses), possess the 5'-terminal cap structure identical to that of eukaryotic mRNAs, but the mechanism of mRNA cap formation is distinctly different from the latter. The elucidation of the unconventional capping of VSV mRNA remained elusive for three decades since the discovery of the cap structure in some viral and eukaryotic mRNAs in 1975. Only recently our biochemical studies revealed an unexpected strategy employed by vesiculoviruses (VSV and Chandipura virus, an emerging arbovirus) to generate the cap structure. This article summarizes the historical and current research that led to the discovery of the novel vesiculoviral mRNA capping reaction.

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