Transcription of Vesicular Stomatitis Virus
Up until 1970, it was not understood why the deproteinized genomic RNAs of positive-strand viruses such as poliovirus were infectious while those of negative-strand viruses such as vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) were not. An explanation of this difference was obtained when Baltimore et al. (1970) incubated highly purified virions of VSV with nonionic detergent, salts, and nucleoside triphosphates and demonstrated that RNA was synthesized in vitro. There was an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase packaged in the virion! Since the RNA synthesized in vitro was complementary to the genomic RNA, it was thought to be messenger RNA (mRNA), and the enzyme responsible for its synthesis was named the “transcriptase.” It is now clear that the obligatory first biosynthetic step in the infectious cycles of negative-strand viruses is transcription. Since the host cells appear to lack enzymes capable of utilizing RNA as templates, the infecting virus particle must carry its own supply of transcriptase into the cell to initiate the viral reproductive cycle. It is generally assumed that the viral polymerase is totally or mostly coded for by viral genes.
KeywordsVesicular Stomatitis Virus Nonpermissive Temperature Defective Interfere Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy Analysis Polyadenylic Acid
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