Genome transcription/translation of segmented, negative-strand RNA viruses

C. Geerts-Dimitriadou

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


The requirements for alignment of capped RNA leader sequences along the viral genome during influenza transcription initiation (“cap-snatching”) have long been an enigma. Previous work on Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) transcription initiation has revealed that this virus displays a preference for leaders with increasing base complementarity to the 3'-ultimate residues of the viral RNA template. Assuming that cap-snatching is a highly conserved mechanism, it is tempting to speculate that the findings for TSWV apply to all segmented negative RNA viruses. The research in this thesis aimed to analyze whether similar cap donor requirements applied for Influenza A virus transcription initiation as compared to what has been found for TSWV. Indeed, in vitro studies demonstrated that influenza transcriptase prefers multiple base-pairing capped leaders. Additionally, the occurrence of “prime-and-realign” during influenza transcription initiation was observed, as well as internal priming at the 3'-penultimate viral residue. The in vitro findings were confirmed by similar studies performed during influenza infection of cell cultures. Whereas transcription initiation of TSWV has been relatively well studied, transcription termination has not. It is postulated that transcription termination/translation is triggered by the formation of a hairpin structure. In cell experiments support a role of the TSWV hairpin structure in translation.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Vlak, Just, Promotor
  • Kormelink, Richard, Co-promotor
Award date28 Jun 2011
Place of Publication[s.l.]
Print ISBNs9789085859314
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • rna viruses
  • tomato spotted wilt virus
  • genomes
  • transcription
  • translation
  • alfalfa mosaic virus
  • nucleotide sequences
  • gene expression
  • genomics


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