Translation of the flavivirus kunjin NS3 gene in cis but not its RNA sequence or secondary structure is essential for efficient RNA packaging

G.P. Pijlman, N. Kondratieva, A.A. Khromykh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Our previous studies using trans-complementation analysis of Kunjin virus (KUN) full-length cDNA clones harboring in-frame deletions in the NS3 gene demonstrated the inability of these defective complemented RNAs to be packaged into virus particles (W. J. Liu, P. L. Sedlak, N. Kondratieva, and A. A. Khromykh, J. Virol. 76:10766-10775). In this study we aimed to establish whether this requirement for NS3 in RNA packaging is determined by the secondary RNA structure of the NS3 gene or by the essential role of the translated NS3 gene product. Multiple silent mutations of three computer-predicted stable RNA structures in the NS3 coding region of KUN replicon RNA aimed at disrupting RNA secondary structure without affecting amino acid sequence did not affect RNA replication and packaging into virus-like particles in the packaging cell line, thus demonstrating that the predicted conserved RNA structures in the NS3 gene do not play a role in RNA replication and/or packaging. In contrast, double frameshift mutations in the NS3 coding region of full-length KUN RNA, producing scrambled NS3 protein but retaining secondary RNA structure, resulted in the loss of ability of these defective RNAs to be packaged into virus particles in complementation experiments in KUN replicon-expressing cells. Furthermore, the more robust complementation-packaging system based on established stable cell lines producing large amounts of complemented replicating NS3-deficient replicon RNAs and infection with KUN virus to provide structural proteins also failed to detect any secreted virus-like particles containing packaged NS3-deficient replicon RNAs. These results have now firmly established the requirement of KUN NS3 protein translated in cis for genome packaging into virus particles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11255-11264
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Virology
Volume80
Issue number22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Keywords

  • west-nile-virus
  • yellow-fever virus
  • hepatitis-c virus
  • acting replication element
  • viral diarrhea virus
  • full-length cdna
  • coding region
  • nonstructural proteins
  • stranded-rna
  • replicon rna

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