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Genetic Recombination in RNA Viruses

  • M. M. C. Lai
Chapter
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 176)

Abstract

Recombination in RNA viruses involves the exchange of genetic information between two nonsegmented RNA genomes, as distinct from the reassortment of RNA seen in viruses containing segmented genomes. The mechanism of RNA recombination appears to be similar to the generation of defective interfering (DI) RNA, since they both involve polymerase jumping during RNA synthesis. However, unlike the production of DI RNA, which is a relatively common phenomenon among RNA viruses, RNA recombination has so far only been demonstrated in a few RNA viruses. Homologous RNA recombination, which is defined as the exchange of two comparable RNA regions at precise locations, was first detected in poliovirus by Hirst (1962) and Ledinko (1963) in the early 1960s. Soon after, another member of the pircornavirus family, foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV), an aphthovirus, also was shown to undergo recombination (Pringle 1965). Subsequently, a series of temperature-sensitive (ts) mutants was used to determine recombination frequencies and do obtain a linear genetic recombination map (Cooper 1968, 1977). The definitive evidence for the occurrence of RNA recombination eventually came from the biochemical analysis of protein and RNA structure of the recombinant viruses (King et al. 1982). The second virus family to be shown to undergo RNA recombination is coronavirus (Lai et al. 1985). And more recently, several plant viruses, including brome mosaic virus and cowpea chlorotic mottle virus, also have been shown to undergo RNA recombination in rare situations (Bujarski and Kaesberg 1986; Allison et al. 1990). Thus, RNA recombination is being recognized increasingly as a general biological phenomenon among RNA viruses and probably plays an important role in viral biology and virus evolution. This chapter will deal mainly with homologous RNA recombination and will not discuss DI RNA, which is one form of nonhomologous RNA recombination.

Keywords

Infectious Bronchitis Virus Mouse Hepatitis Virus Brome Mosaic Virus Cowpea Chlorotic Mottle Virus Western Equine Encephalitis Virus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. M. C. Lai
    • 1
  1. 1.Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of Southern California School of MedicineLos AngelesUSA

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