RNA-Mediated Trans-Activation of Transcription from a Viral RNA

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Science  07 Aug 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5378, pp. 829-832
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5378.829

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The red clover necrotic mosaic virus genome is composed of two single-stranded RNA components, RNA-1 and RNA-2. The viral capsid protein is translated from a subgenomic RNA (sgRNA) that is transcribed from genomic RNA-1. Here, a 34-nucleotide sequence in RNA-2 is shown to be required for transcription of sgRNA. Mutations that prevent base-pairing between the RNA-1 subgenomic promoter and the 34-nucleotide trans-activator prevent expression of a reporter gene. A model is proposed in which direct binding of RNA-2 to RNA-1 trans-activates sgRNA synthesis. This RNA-mediated regulation of transcription is unusual among RNA viruses, which typically rely on protein regulators.

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