Sequences and structures required for recombination between virus-associated RNAs

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Science  07 May 1993:
Vol. 260, Issue 5109, pp. 801-805
DOI: 10.1126/science.8484119


RNA recombination has been described for a number of viruses in the plant and animal kingdoms, but the mechanisms of selection of recombination sites are poorly understood. The nonrandom recombination between two subviral RNAs associated with turnip crinkle virus was used to study the requirement for specific sequences and structures in the generation of recombinant molecules. Single-base mutations that disrupted either the stem or the loop of one of the two computer-predicted stem-loop structures eliminated detectable recombinant molecules. However, recombinants were detected if compensatory mutations were generated that re-formed a stable hairpin structure. These results provide evidence for the necessity of specific structures in the formation of recombinant molecules in this system.