Scientific article
Open access

Chemical modification of nucleotide bases and mRNA editing depend on hexamer or nucleoprotein phase in Sendai virus nucleocapsids

Published inRNA, vol. 8, no. 8, p. 1056-1067
Publication date2002

The minus-strand genome of Sendai virus is an assembly of the nucleocapsid protein (N) and RNA, in which each N subunit is associated with precisely 6 nt. Only genomes that are a multiple of 6 nt long replicate efficiently or are found naturally, and their replication promoters contain sequence elements with hexamer repeats. Paramyxoviruses that are governed by this hexamer rule also edit their P gene mRNA during its synthesis, by G insertions, via a controlled form of viral RNA polymerase "stuttering" (pseudo-templated transcription). This stuttering is directed by a cis-acting sequence (3' UNN UUUUUU CCC), whose hexamer phase is conserved within each virus group. To determine whether the hexamer phase of a given nucleotide sequence within nucleocapsids affected its sensitivity to chemical modification, and whether hexamer phase of the mRNA editing site was important for the editing process, we prepared a matched set of viruses in which a model editing site was displaced 1 nt at a time relative to the genome ends. The relative abilities of these Sendai viruses to edit their mRNAs in cell culture infections were examined, and the ability of DMS to chemically modify the nucleotides of this cis-acting signal within resting viral nucleocapsids was also studied. Cytidines at hexamer phases 1 and 6 were the most accessible to chemical modification, whereas mRNA editing was most extensive when the stutter-site C was in positions 2 to 5. Apparently, the N subunit imprints the nucleotide sequence it is associated with, and affects both the initiation of viral RNA synthesis and mRNA editing. The N-subunit assembly thus appears to superimpose another code upon the genetic code.

  • Base Sequence
  • Genome, Viral
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleocapsid/chemistry/genetics/metabolism
  • RNA Editing
  • RNA, Messenger/genetics/metabolism
  • RNA, Viral/genetics/metabolism
  • Sendai virus/chemistry/genetics/metabolism
Citation (ISO format)
ISENI, Frédéric et al. Chemical modification of nucleotide bases and mRNA editing depend on hexamer or nucleoprotein phase in Sendai virus nucleocapsids. In: RNA, 2002, vol. 8, n° 8, p. 1056–1067. doi: 10.1017/s1355838202029977
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1355-8382

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