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Authentic Borna disease virus transcripts are spliced less efficiently than cDNA-derived viral RNAs

Jehle, Christian; Lipkin, W. Ian; Staeheli, Peter; Marion, Rosa M.; Schwemmle, Martin

Borna disease virus (BDV) is a non-segmented, negative-strand RNA virus that replicates and transcribes its genome in the nucleus of infected cells. It uses the cellular splicing machinery to generate a set of alternatively spliced mRNAs from the 2.8 and 7.1 kb primary transcripts, each harbouring two introns. To determine whether splicing of these transcripts is regulated by viral factors, the extent of splicing was studied in infected cells and COS-7 cells transiently transfected with plasmids encoding the 2.8 kb RNA of BDV. Unspliced RNA was found to be the most abundant RNA species in infected cells, whereas viral transcripts lacking both introns were only found in minute amounts. In sharp contrast, plasmid-derived 2.8 kb RNA was predominantly intron 1-spliced and double-spliced. Co-expression of the BDV proteins P, N and X did not influence splicing of plasmid-expressed 2.8 kb RNA. Furthermore, the splicing pattern did not change when the 2.8 kb RNA was expressed in BDV-infected cells. Based on these results we speculate that splicing of authentic BDV transcripts is tightly linked to transcription by the viral polymerase.

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Title
Journal of General Virology

More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for Infection and Immunity
Published Here
March 17, 2011