Programmed Ribosomal Frameshifting in SARS-CoV and HIV-1

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2007-12-10

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Programmed ribosomal frameshifting controls the ratio of two protein products made in a variety of viruses and mammalian cells. This occurs when the ribosome is translating mRNA, pauses at secondary structure, slips back one base in the 5' direction, and continues translation in a new reading frame. A series of SARS-CoV pseudoknot mutants were generated to examine important features of frameshifting, and an antibiotic was tested for its effect on HIV and SARS-CoV frameshifting. Other mutants were made in the human CCR5 gene to determine whether frameshifting occurs. It was found that mRNA stability and unpaired adenosines influence frameshifting, and increasing concentrations of the antibiotic gentamicin increases frameshifting. Moreover, CCR5, the co-receptor for HIV, contains a working frameshifting signal. This study pinpoints several antiviral targets and important factors for HIV and SARS-CoV pathogenesis.

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