We used an infectious cDNA clone of Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) to investigate the presence of essential replication elements in the region of the genome encoding the structural proteins. Deletion analysis showed that a stretch of 34 nucleotides (14653 to 14686) within ORF7, which encodes the nucleocapsid protein, is essential for RNA replication. Strand-specific reverse transcription-PCR analysis of viral RNA isolated from transfected BHK-21 cells revealed that this region is required for negative-strand genomic RNA synthesis. The 34-nucleotide stretch is highly conserved among PRRSV isolates and folds into a putative hairpin. A 7-base sequence within the loop of this structure was suggested to base-pair with a sequence present in the loop of a hairpin located in the 3' noncoding region, resulting in a kissing interaction. Mutational analyses confirmed that this kissing interaction is required for RNA replication.
|Journal||Journal of Virology|
|Publication status||Published - 2002|