Transgenic Research

, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 1273–1284

Aberrant transcription and post-transcriptional processing of hepatitis C virus non-structural genes in transgenic mice

  • Mayura M. Desai
  • Batbayar Tumurbataar
  • Yueqing Zhang
  • Lee-Nien Lillian Chan
  • Jiaren Sun
  • Teh-sheng Chan
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11248-011-9494-x

Cite this article as:
Desai, M.M., Tumurbataar, B., Zhang, Y. et al. Transgenic Res (2011) 20: 1273. doi:10.1007/s11248-011-9494-x

Abstract

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a leading cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. Since several aspects of the infection remain unresolved, there is a pressing need for a convenient animal model that can mimic the clinical disease and aid the evaluation of treatment strategies. Although some success has been achieved in transgenic approaches for development of rodent models of HCV, transgenic expression of the complete HCV polyprotein or an entire set of the viral non-structural (NS) proteins continues to be a serious challenge. Using northern blot and 5′ rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE), we unraveled two possible mechanisms that can impede HCV NS transgene expression in the mouse liver. Several truncated transcripts are produced from alternate transcription start sites along the HCV NS sequence within the murine environment, in vivo. Translation of these shorter transcripts is blocked either by the positioning of a contextual stop codon or through a shift in the reading frame. In addition, the complete NS transcript undergoes trans-splicing through 5′ recombination with a non-transgene-derived, spliced leader sequence that appends a potential stop codon upstream of the translation start. These findings thus demonstrate that HCV NS-derived transgenes are subject to aberrant transcriptional initiation and post-transcriptional processing in the nucleus of a mouse host. Strategies to prevent such aberrant transcription start/RNA processing might be key to the development of a successful HCV transgenic mouse model.

Keywords

Hepatitis C virus Non-structural proteins Transgenic mouse Aberrant transcription Trans-splicing 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mayura M. Desai
    • 1
  • Batbayar Tumurbataar
    • 1
    • 3
  • Yueqing Zhang
    • 1
  • Lee-Nien Lillian Chan
    • 2
  • Jiaren Sun
    • 1
    • 4
  • Teh-sheng Chan
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyUniversity of Texas Medical Branch at GalvestonGalvestonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyUniversity of Texas Medical Branch at GalvestonGalvestonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of Kansas Medical CenterKansas CityUSA
  4. 4.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA

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