Site-specific RNA cleavage generates the 3' end of a poxvirus late mRNA.
The cowpox virus late mRNAs encoding the major protein of the A-type inclusions have 3' ends corresponding to a single site in the DNA template. The DNA sequence of the Alu I-Xba I fragment at this position encodes an RNA cis-acting signal, designated the AX element, which directs this RNA 3' end formation. In cells infected with vaccinia virus the AX element functions independently of either the nature of the promoter element or the RNA polymerase responsible for generating the primary RNA. At late times during virus replication, vaccinia virus induces or activates a site-specific endoribonuclease that cleaves primary RNAs within the AX element. The 3' end produced by RNA cleavage is then polyadenylylated to form the 3' end of the mature mRNA. Therefore, the poxviruses employ at least two mechanisms of RNA 3' end formation during the viral replication cycle. One mechanism, which is operative at early times in viral replication, involves the termination of transcription [Rohrmann, G., Yuen, L. & Moss, B. (1986) Cell 46, 1029-1035]. A second mechanism, which is operative at late times during viral replication, involves the site-specific cleavage of primary RNAs.
Antczak, JB; Patel, DD; Ray, CA; Ink, BS; Pickup, DJ
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