Regulation of Coronavirus RNA Transcription is Likely Mediated by Protein-RNA Interactions

  • X. M. Zhang
  • M. M. C. Lai
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 380)


Coronavirus mRNA transcription was thought to be regulated by the interaction between the leader RNA and the intergenic (IG) sequence, probably involving direct RNA-RNA interactions between complementary sequences. In this study, we found that a 9-nucleotide sequence immediately downstream of the leader RNA up-regulated mRNA transcription and that a particular strain of mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) lacking this 9-nucleotide transcribed subgenomic mRNA species containing unusually heterogeneous leader-fusion sites. These results suggest that the sequence complementarity between the leader and IG is not necessarily required for mRNA transcription. UV cross-linking experiments using cytoplasmic extracts of uninfected cells and the IG sequence showed that three different cellular proteins bound to IG of the template RNA. Deletion analyses and site-directed mutagenesis of IG further demonstrated a correlation between protein-binding and transcription efficiency, suggesting that these RNA-binding proteins are involved in the regulation of coronavirus mRNA transcription. We propose that coronavirus transcription is regulated by RNA-protein and protein-protein interactions.


mRNA Transcription Cytoplasmic Extract Helper Virus Transcription Efficiency Mouse Hepatitis Virus 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • X. M. Zhang
    • 1
  • M. M. C. Lai
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyUniversity of Southern California School of MedicineLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Howard Hughes Medical InstituteUniversity of Southern California School of MedicineLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of Southern California School of MedicineLos AngelesUSA

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