Gene Expression in Positive Strand RNA Viruses: Conventional and Aberrant Strategies

  • Alexey Agranovsky
  • Sergey Morozov


The rapid evolution of RNA virus genomes, which is driven by high mutation rates in replication (Steinhauer and Holland, 1987) and recombinational reassortment (Gibbs, 1987; Zimmern, 1988; Morozov et al.,1989), must conciliate two opposite factors: the necessity of acquiring new genes for adaptation, and the limitations on the genome size imposed by packaging and replication constraints (Dolja et al.,1994; Agranovsky, 1996). As a result, (+)RNA genomes of plant viruses rarely exceed the 10-kb size limit, some of them containing only the three genes that suffice for the basic functions of replication, cell-to-cell movement, and encapsidation. It is not uncommon that the plant virus genomes are ‘compressed’, i.e., contain extensively overlapping open reading frames (ORFs). To efficiently express their genomes, RNA viruses have developed mosaic strategies, of which some conform to the rules of eukaryotic mRNA translation, and some break these rules.


Plant Virus Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus Beet Necrotic Yellow Vein Virus Barley Stripe Mosaic Virus Replicase Gene 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

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  • Alexey Agranovsky
  • Sergey Morozov

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