Biosynthesis of Influenza Virus RNA

  • Brian W. J. Mahy
  • Thomas Barrett
Part of the Developments in Molecular Virology book series (DMVI, volume 2)


Using fowl plague virus as a model highly virulent influenza A virus, we have studied the transcription and replication of the eight segments of the negative-stranded RNA genome. Initiation of transcription requires a 5’ cap-containing RNA primer molecule which is recognised by PB2, the virion polypeptide product of RNA seament 1. During transcription, the 5’ cap plus 10–15 nucleotides are transferred to influenza virus mRNAs, resulting in sequence heterocreneitv at their 5’ termini. Transcription is terminated by polyadenylation at a tract of uridine residues 17–22 nucleotides from the 5’ terminus of each segment of the genome RNA template.

The site of RNA transcription appears to be the cell nucleus. Addition of toyocamycin to infected cells results in accumulation of virus-specific transcripts in the nucleus, and blocks the production of spliced mRNAs normally processed from transcripts of segments 7 and 8. Transcription is strictly regulated during normal replication, resulting in temporal control of polypeptide synthesis. This regulation can be abolished by cycloheximide, indicating that newly synthesised polypeptides (so far undefined) control transcription.

Little is known concerning the synthesis of progeny virion RNAs. Production of template cRNAs involves read-through of the polyadenylated site by an unknown mechanism. Since these cRNAs can be synthesised in the absence of new virion RNA synthesis, it is likely that onlt the input vRNAs are required to act as templates in their production.


Influenza Virus Chick Embryo Fibroblast Vitro Initiation Prime Molecule Uridine Residue 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Grist, N.R. Brit. med. J. ii: 1632–1633, 1979.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Barrv, R.D., Cruickshank, J.G. and Wells, R.H.J. Vet. Rec. 76: 1316–1322, 1964.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    McGeoch, D., Fellner, P. and Newton, C. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 73: 3045–3049, 1976.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Glass, S.E., McGeoch, D. and Barry, R.D. J. Virol. 16: 1435–1443, 1975.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Barry, R.D. and Mahy, B.W.J. Brit. med. Bull. 35: 39–46, 1979.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    McGeoch, D. and Kitron, N. J. Virol. 15: 686–695, 1975.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Carroll, A.R., McGeoch, D.J. and Mahy, B.W.J. Colloq. Inst. Nat. Sante Rech. Med. 47: 95–102, 1975.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Robertson, J.S. Nucleic Acids Res. 6: 3745–3759, 1979.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Banerjee, A.K., Abraham, G. and Colonno, R.J. J. gen. Virol. 34: 1–8, 1977.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Krug, R.M. Curr. Topics Microbiol. Immunol. 93: 125–149, 1981.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Caton, A.J. and Robertson, J.S. Nucleic Acids Res. 7: 1445–1456, 1979.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Sleigh, M.J., Both, G.W. and Brownlee, G.G. Nucleic Acids Res. 6: 1309–1321, 1979.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Maxam, A. and Gilbert, W. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 74: 560–564, 1977.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Caton, A.J. and Robertson, J.S. Nucleic Acids Res. 8: 2591–2603, 1980.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Sanger, F., Nicklen, S. and Coulson, A.R. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci USA 74: 5463–5467, 1977.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    McGeoch, D.J. Cell 17: 673–681, 1979.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Rose, J.K. Cell 19: 415–421, 1980.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Schubert, M., Keene, J.D., Herman, R.C. and Lazzarini, R.A. J. Virol. 34: 550–559, 1980.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Robertson, J.S., Schubert, M. and Lazzarini, R.A. J. Virol. 38: 157–163, 1981.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Barrett, T., Wolstenholme, A.J. and Mahy, B.W.J. Virology 98: 211–225, 1979.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Wolstenholme, A.J., Barrett, T., Nichol, S.T. and Mahy, B.W.J. J. Virol. 35: 1–7, 1980.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Mahy, B.W.J., Carroll, A.R., Brownson, J.M.T. and McGeoch, D.J. Virology 83: 150–162, 1977.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Mahy, B.W.J., Barrett, T., Briedis, D.J., Brownson, J.M. and Wolstenholme, A.J. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. B. 288: 349–357, 1980.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Briedis, D.J., Conti, G., Munn, E.A. and Mahy, B.W.J. Virology 111: 154–164, 1981.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Mahy, B.W.J., Penn, C.R., Nichol, S.T., Briedis, D.J. and Barrett, T. In: Genetic Variation among Influenza Viruses (Ed. D.P. Nayak), Academic Press, New York, pp. 113–125.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Swart, C. and Hodge, L.D. Virology 84: 374–389, 1978.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Incrlis, S.C., Gething, M.-J. and Brown, C.M. Nucleic Acids Res. 8: 3575–3589, 1980.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Inglis, S.C. and Brown, C.M. Nucleic Acids Res. 9: 2727– 2740, 1981.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Chen-Kiang, S., Nevins, J.R. and Darnell, J.E. J. mol. Biol. 135: 733–752, 1979.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Inglis, S.C., Carroll, A.R., Lamb, R.A. and Mahy, B.W.J. Virology 74: 489–503, 1976.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Inglis, S.C. and Mahy, B.W.J. Virology 95: 154–164, 1979.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    McCauley, J.W. and Mahy, B.W.J. Biochem. J. 211: in press, 1983.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Ghendon, Y.Z., Markushin, S.G., Klimov, A.I., Lotte, V.D. and Ginzburg, V.P. J. gen. Virol. 64: 291–304, 1983.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Penn, C.R., Blaas, D., Kuechler, E. and Mahy, B.W.J. J. gen. Virol. 62: 177–180, 1982.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Penn, C.R. Influenza virus messenger RNA synthesis. Ph.D. thesis, University of Cambridge, 1983.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Lamb, R.A. and Lai, C.-J. Virology 123: 237–256, 1982.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Smith, G.L. and Hay, A.J. Virology 118: 96–108, 1982.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Mahy, B.W.J. In: Genetics of Influenza Viruses (ed. Palese, P), Springer Verlag, in press, 1983.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Nichol, S.T. In vitro transcription of fowl plague virus RNA. Ph.D. thesis, University of Cambridge, 1980.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Almond, J.W. and Barry, R.D. Virology 92: 407–415, 1979.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Almond, J.W., McGeoch, D. and Barry, R.D. Virology 92: 416–427, 1979.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Inglis, S.C., McGeoch, D.J. and Mahy, B.W.J. Virology 78: 522–536, 1977.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Carter, M.J. and Mahy, B.W.J. Arch. Virol. 71: 13–25, 1982.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Laemmli, U.K. Nature 227: 680–685, 1970.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishing, Boston 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian W. J. Mahy
  • Thomas Barrett

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations