Virology, Nebraska Center for



Feng Qu

Date of this Version



Published in JOURNAL OF VIROLOGY, Feb. 2000, p. 1085–1093 Vol. 74, No. 3. 0022-538X/00/$04.0010 Copyright © 2000, American Society for Microbiology. Used by permission.


The presence of translational control elements and cap structures has not been carefully investigated for members of the Carmovirus genus, a group of small icosahedral plant viruses with positive-sense RNA genomes. In this study, we examined both the 5’ and 3’ untranslated regions (UTRs) of the turnip crinkle carmovirus (TCV) genomic RNA (4 kb) as well as the 5’ UTR of the coat protein subgenomic RNA (1.45 kb) for their roles in translational regulation. All three UTRs enhanced translation of the firefly luciferase reporter gene to different extents. Optimal translational efficiency was achieved when mRNAs contained both 5’ and 3’ UTRs. The synergistic effect due to the 5’-3’ cooperation was at least fourfold greater than the sum of the contributions of the individual UTRs. The observed translational enhancement of TCV mRNAs occurred in a capindependent manner, a result consistent with the demonstration, using a cap-specific antibody, that the 5’ end of the TCV genomic RNA was uncapped. Finally, the translational enhancement activity within the 5’ UTR of 1.45-kb subgenomic RNA was shown to be important for the translation of coat protein in protoplasts and for virulent infection in Arabidopsis plants.

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