A freeze frame view of vesicular stomatitis virus transcription defines a minimal length of RNA for 5′ processing

Gergely Tekes, Amal A. Rahmeh, Sean P.J. Whelan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

The RNA synthesis machinery of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) comprises the genomic RNA encapsidated by the viral nucleocapsid protein (N) and associated with the RNA dependent RNA polymerase, the viral components of which are a large protein (L) and an accessory phosphoprotein (P). The 241 kDa L protein contains all the enzymatic activities necessary for synthesis of the viral mRNAs, including capping, cap methylation and polyadenylation. Those RNA processing reactions are intimately coordinated with nucleotide polymerization such that failurehat transcripts that were 30-nucleotides in length were uncapped, whereas those that were 31-nucleotides in length contained a cap structure. The minimal RNA length required for mRNA cap addition was also sufficient for methylation since the 31-nucleotide long transcripts were methylated at both ribose-2′-O and guanine-N-7 positions. This work provides insights into the spatial relationship between the active sites for the RNA dependent RNA polymerase and polyribonucleotidyltransferase responsible for capping of the viral RNA. We combine the present findings with our recently described electron microscopic structure of the VSV polymerase and propose a model of how the spatial arrangement of the capping activities of L may influence nucleotide polymerization.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1002073
JournalPLoS pathogens
Volume7
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

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