Genetic manipulation of a transcription-regulating sequence of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus reveals key nucleotides determining its activity
The factors that determine the transcription-regulating sequence (TRS) activity of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) remain largely unclear. In this study, the effect of mutagenesis of conserved C nucleotides at positions 5 and 6 in the leader TRS (TRS-L) and/or canonical body TRS7 (TRS-B7) on the synthesis of subgenomic (sg) mRNA and virus infectivity was investigated in the context of a type 2 PRRSV infectious cDNA clone. The results showed that a double C mutation in the leader TRS completely abolished sg mRNAs synthesis and virus infectivity, but a single C mutation did not. A single C or double C mutation in TRS-B7.1 or/and TRS-B7.2 impaired or abolished the corresponding sg mRNA synthesis. Introduction of identical mutations in the leader and body TRSs partially restored sg mRNA7.1 and/or sg mRNA7.2 transcription, indicating that the base-pairing interaction between sense TRS-L and cTRS-B is a crucial factor influencing sg mRNA synthesis. Analysis of the mRNA leader-body junctions of mutants provided evidence for a mechanism of discontinuous minus-strand transcription. This study also showed that mutational inactivation of TRS-B7.1 or TRS-B7.2 did not affect the production of infectious progeny virus, and the sg mRNA formed from each of them could express N protein. However, TRS-B7.1 plays more important roles than TRS-B7.2 in maintaining the growth characteristic of type 2 PRRSV. These results provide more insight into the molecular mechanism of genome expression and subgenomic mRNA transcription of PRRSV.
KeywordsMutant Virus Shuttle Plasmid Equine Arteritis Virus Infectious Progeny Virus Discontinuous Transcription
This study was supported from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (30972204, 31372444) and the EU Seventh Framework Program (No. 245141).
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