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EMBO Rep. 2015 Aug;16(8):995-1004. doi: 10.15252/embr.201540509. Epub 2015 Jun 25.

Transcriptional slippage in the positive-sense RNA virus family Potyviridae.

Author information

1
Division of Virology, Department of Pathology, Addenbrooke's Hospital, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
2
Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
3
Schools of Biochemistry and Microbiology, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland Department of Human Genetics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.
4
Division of Virology, Department of Pathology, Addenbrooke's Hospital, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK aef24@cam.ac.uk.

Abstract

The family Potyviridae encompasses ~30% of plant viruses and is responsible for significant economic losses worldwide. Recently, a small overlapping coding sequence, termed pipo, was found to be conserved in the genomes of all potyvirids. PIPO is expressed as part of a frameshift protein, P3N-PIPO, which is essential for virus cell-to-cell movement. However, the frameshift expression mechanism has hitherto remained unknown. Here, we demonstrate that transcriptional slippage, specific to the viral RNA polymerase, results in a population of transcripts with an additional "A" inserted within a highly conserved GAAAAAA sequence, thus enabling expression of P3N-PIPO. The slippage efficiency is ~2% in Turnip mosaic virus and slippage is inhibited by mutations in the GAAAAAA sequence. While utilization of transcriptional slippage is well known in negative-sense RNA viruses such as Ebola, mumps and measles, to our knowledge this is the first report of its widespread utilization for gene expression in positive-sense RNA viruses.

KEYWORDS:

P3N‐PIPO; Potyvirus; RNA virus; gene expression; transcriptional slippage

Comment in

PMID:
26113364
PMCID:
PMC4552492
DOI:
10.15252/embr.201540509
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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