5' cloverleaf in poliovirus RNA is a cis-acting replication element required for negative-strand synthesis

Barton, David J.; O'Donnell, Brian J.; Flanegan, James B.
March 2001
EMBO Journal;3/15/2001, Vol. 20 Issue 6, p1439
Academic Journal
A cloverleaf structure at the 5' terminus of poliovirus RNA binds viral and cellular proteins. To examine the role of the cloverleaf in poliovirus replication, we determined how cloverleaf mutations affected the stability, translation and replication of poliovirus RNA in HeLa S10 translation-replication reactions. Mutations within the cloverleaf destabilized viral RNA in these reactions. Adding a 5' 7-methyl guanosine cap fully restored the stability of the mutant RNAs and had no effect on their translation. These results indicate that the 5' cloverleaf normally protects uncapped poliovirus RNA from rapid degradation by cellular nucleases. Preinitiation RNA replication complexes formed with the capped mutant RNAs were used to measure negative-strand synthesis. Although the mutant RNAs were stable and functional mRNAs, they were not active templates for negative-strand RNA synthesis. Therefore, the 5' cloverleaf is a multifunctional cis-acting replication element required for the initiation of negative-strand RNA synthesis. We propose a replication model in which the 5' and 3' ends of viral RNA interact to form a circular ribonucleoprotein complex that regulates the stability, translation and replication of poliovirus RNA.


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