Secondary structural elements within the 3' untranslated region of mouse hepatitis virus strain JHM genomic RNA. Academic Article uri icon


  • Previously, we characterized two host protein binding elements located within the 3'-terminal 166 nucleotides of the mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) genome and assessed their functions in defective-interfering (DI) RNA replication. To determine the role of RNA secondary structures within these two host protein binding elements in viral replication, we explored the secondary structure of the 3'-terminal 166 nucleotides of the MHV strain JHM genome using limited RNase digestion assays. Our data indicate that multiple stem-loop and hairpin-loop structures exist within this region. Mutant and wild-type DIssEs were employed to test the function of secondary structure elements in DI RNA replication. Three stem structures were chosen as targets for the introduction of transversion mutations designed to destroy base pairing structures. Mutations predicted to destroy the base pairing of nucleotides 142 to 136 with nucleotides 68 to 74 exhibited a deleterious effect on DIssE replication. Destruction of base pairing between positions 96 to 99 and 116 to 113 also decreased DI RNA replication. Mutations interfering with the pairing of nucleotides 67 to 63 with nucleotides 52 to 56 had only minor effects on DIssE replication. The introduction of second complementary mutations which restored the predicted base pairing of positions 142 to 136 with 68 to 74 and nucleotides 96 to 99 with 116 to 113 largely ameliorated defects in replication ability, restoring DI RNA replication to levels comparable to that of wild-type DIssE RNA, suggesting that these secondary structures are important for efficient MHV replication. We also identified a conserved 23-nucleotide stem-loop structure involving nucleotides 142 to 132 and nucleotides 68 to 79. The upstream side of this conserved stem-loop is contained within a host protein binding element (nucleotides 166 to 129).

published proceedings

  • J Virol

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Liu, Q., Johnson, R. F., & Leibowitz, J. L.

citation count

  • 38

complete list of authors

  • Liu, Q||Johnson, RF||Leibowitz, JL

publication date

  • December 2001