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Genetic manipulation of a transcription-regulating sequence of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus reveals key nucleotides determining its activity

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgements

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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Correspondence to Zuzhang Wei or Shishan Yuan.

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Zheng, H., Zhang, K., Zhu, XQ. et al. Genetic manipulation of a transcription-regulating sequence of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus reveals key nucleotides determining its activity. Arch Virol 159, 1927–1940 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00705-014-2018-2

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Keywords

  • Mutant Virus
  • Shuttle Plasmid
  • Equine Arteritis Virus
  • Infectious Progeny Virus
  • Discontinuous Transcription