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A conserved hairpin structure in Alfamovirus and Bromovirus subgenomic promoters is required for efficient RNA synthesis in vitro

  • P.C.J. HAASNOOT (a1), F.Th. BREDERODE (a1), R.C.L. OLSTHOORN (a1) and J.F. BOL (a1)

Abstract

The coat protein gene in RNA 3 of alfalfa mosaic virus (AMV; genus Alfamovirus, family Bromoviridae) is translated from the subgenomic RNA 4. Analysis of the subgenomic promoter (sgp) in minus-strand RNA 3 showed that a sequence of 37 nt upstream of the RNA 4 start site (nt +1) was sufficient for full sgp activity in an in vitro assay with the purified viral RNA-dependent RNA-polymerase (RdRp). The sequence of nt −6 to −29 could be folded into a potential hairpin structure with a loop represented by nt −16, −17, and −18, and a bulge involving nt −23. By introducing mutations that disrupted base pairing and compensatory mutations that restored base pairing, it was shown that base pairing in the top half of the putative stem (between the loop and bulge) was essential for sgp activity, whereas base pairing in the bottom half of the stem was less stringently required. Deletion of the bulged residue A-23 or mutation of this residue into a C strongly reduced sgp activity, but mutation of A-23 into U or G had little effect on sgp activity. Mutation of loop residues A-16 and A-17 affected sgp activity, whereas mutation of U-18 did not. Using RNA templates corresponding to the sgp of brome mosaic virus (BMV; genus Bromovirus, family Bromoviridae) and purified BMV RdRp, evidence was obtained indicating that also in BMV RNA a triloop hairpin structure is required for sgp activity.

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Corresponding author

Reprint requests to: John F. Bol, Gorlaeus Laboratories, Leiden University, PO Box 9502, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands; e-mail: j.bol@chem.leidenuniv.nl.

Keywords

A conserved hairpin structure in Alfamovirus and Bromovirus subgenomic promoters is required for efficient RNA synthesis in vitro

  • P.C.J. HAASNOOT (a1), F.Th. BREDERODE (a1), R.C.L. OLSTHOORN (a1) and J.F. BOL (a1)

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