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Multifaceted regulation of translational readthrough by RNA replication elements in a tombusvirus.

Cimino, Peter A; Nicholson, Beth L; Wu, Baodong; Xu, Wei; White, K Andrew.
PLoS Pathog; 7(12): e1002423, 2011 Dec.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-22174683
Translational readthrough of stop codons by ribosomes is a recoding event used by a variety of viruses, including plus-strand RNA tombusviruses. Translation of the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) in tombusviruses is mediated using this strategy and we have investigated this process using a variety of in vitro and in vivo approaches. Our results indicate that readthrough generating the RdRp requires a novel long-range RNA-RNA interaction, spanning a distance of ∼3.5 kb, which occurs between a large RNA stem-loop located 3'-proximal to the stop codon and an RNA replication structure termed RIV at the 3'-end of the viral genome. Interestingly, this long-distance RNA-RNA interaction is modulated by mutually-exclusive RNA structures in RIV that represent a type of RNA switch. Moreover, a different long-range RNA-RNA interaction that was previously shown to be necessary for viral RNA replicase assembly was also required for efficient readthrough production of the RdRp. Accordingly, multiple replication-associated RNA elements are involved in modulating the readthrough event in tombusviruses and we propose an integrated mechanistic model to describe how this regulatory network could be advantageous by (i) providing a quality control system for culling truncated viral genomes at an early stage in the replication process, (ii) mediating cis-preferential replication of viral genomes, and (iii) coordinating translational readthrough of the RdRp with viral genome replication. Based on comparative sequence analysis and experimental data, basic elements of this regulatory model extend to other members of Tombusviridae, as well as to viruses outside of this family.
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