The 5' and 3' ends of alphavirus RNAs - Non-coding is not non-functional

Jennifer L. Hyde, Rubing Chen, Derek W. Trobaugh, Michael S. Diamond, Scott C. Weaver, William B. Klimstra, Jeffrey Wilusz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


The non-coding regions found at the 5' and 3' ends of alphavirus genomes regulate viral gene expression, replication, translation and virus-host interactions, which have significant implications for viral evolution, host range, and pathogenesis. The functions of these non-coding regions are mediated by a combination of linear sequence and structural elements. The capped 5' untranslated region (UTR) contains promoter elements, translational regulatory sequences that modulate dependence on cellular translation factors, and structures that help to avoid innate immune defenses. The polyadenylated 3' UTR contains highly conserved sequence elements for viral replication, binding sites for cellular miRNAs that determine cell tropism, host range, and pathogenesis, and conserved binding regions for a cellular protein that influences viral RNA stability. Nonetheless, there are additional conserved elements in non-coding regions of the virus (e.g., the repeated sequence elements in the 3' UTR) whose function remains obscure. Thus, key questions remain as to the function of these short yet influential untranslated segments of alphavirus RNAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-107
Number of pages9
JournalVirus Research
StatePublished - Aug 3 2015


  • Polyadenylation
  • Protein-RNA interactions
  • Translation regulation
  • Viral pathogenesis
  • mRNA capping
  • miRNAs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Cancer Research


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