The mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) sequences required for replication of the JHM strain of MHV defective interfering (DI) RNA consist of three discontinuous genomic regions: about 0.47 kb from both terminal sequences and a 0.13-kb internal region present at about 0.9 kb from the 5' end of the DI genome. In this study, we investigated the role of the internal 0.13-kb region in MHV RNA replication. Overall sequences of the 0.13-kb regions from various MHV strains were similar to each other, with nucleotide substitutions in some strains; MHV-A59 was exceptional, with three nucleotide deletions. Computer-based secondary-structure analysis of the 0.13-kb region in the positive strand revealed that most of the MHV strains formed the same or a similar main stem-loop structure, whereas only MHV-A59 formed a smaller main stem-loop structure. The RNA secondary structures in the negative strands were much less uniform among the MHV strains. A series of DI RNAs that contained MHV-JHM-derived 5'- and 3'-terminal sequences plus internal 0.13- kb regions derived from various MHV strains were constructed. Most of these DI RNAs replicated in MHV-infected cells, except that MRP-A59, with a 0.13- kb region derived from HV-A59, failed to replicate. Interestingly, replication of MRP-A59 was temperature dependent; it occurred at 39.5°C but ont at 37 or 35°C, whereas a DI RNA with an MHV-JHM-derived 0.13-kb region replicated at all three temperatures. At 37°C, synthesis of MRP-A59 negative-strand RNA was detected in MHV-infected and MRP-A59 RNA-transfected cells. Another DI RNA with the internal 0.13-kb region deleted also synthesized negative-strand RNA in MHV-infected cells. MRP-A59-transfected cells were shifted from 39.5 to 37°C at 5.5 h postinfection, a time when most MHV negative-strand RNAs have already accumulated; after the shift, MRP- A59 positive-strand RNA synthesis ceased. The minimum sequence required for maintenance of the positive-strand major stem-loop structure and biological function of the MHV-JHM 0.13-kb region was about 57 nucleotides. Function was lost in the 50-nucleotide sequence that formed a positive-strand stem-loop structure identical to that of MHV-A59. These studies suggested that the RNA structure made by the internal sequence was important for positive-strand MHV RNA synthesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science