Striking conformational similarities between the transcription promoters of Thogoto and influenza A viruses: evidence for intrastrand base pairing in the 5' promoter arm.
Leahy MB., Dessens JT., Nuttall PA.
In the accompanying report, we describe an in vitro polymerase assay based on reconstituted Thogoto virus (THOV) cores which provided evidence of a double-stranded vRNA promoter consisting of both the 3' and 5' sequences of vRNA (M. B. Leahy, J. T. Dessens, and P. A. Nuttall, J. Virol. 71:8347-8351, 1997). This system was used to investigate further the THOV vRNA promoter structure by using short, synthetic vRNA promoters. The results obtained show that interstrand base pairing between residues 10 and 11 of the 3' promoter arm with residues 11 and 12 of the 5' promoter arm, respectively, is important for promoter activity. In addition, intrastrand base pairing between residues 2 and 3 with residues 9 and 8 of the 5' promoter arm, respectively, was shown to be involved in promoter activity, while no evidence of intrastrand base pairing between residues 2 and 9 of the 3' promoter arm was obtained. These observations are consistent with a hook-like structure in the 5' promoter arm of the THOV promoter. The THOV cores were able to transcribe an influenza A virus (FLUA) vRNA-like promoter, as well as hybrid THOV-FLUA promoters. Hence, the THOV and FLUA vRNA promoters appear to be both structurally and functionally similar.