We have studied the effect of phosphorylated ribavirin on the vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) polymerase reaction by analysis of kinetic data obtained by varying the concentration of nucleoside triphosphates. The wild-type VSV had previously shown a competitive inhibition with the four natural nucleoside triphosphates with the use of ribavirin diphosphate (RDP) or ribavirin triphosphate (RTP). In contrast, when RDP (or RTP) was added to a transcription assay system using the polR1 mutant of VSV, a non-competitive or mixed type of inhibition was observed when the concentration of ATP was varied. Our results indicate that polR1 has an altered ATP function in addition to the previously described phenotypic characteristics of this mutant, which include synthesis of readthrough products of the leader/nucleocapsid (N) gene junction and a decreased ATP requirement for transcription. We have also studied CsCl-purified transcription products by primer-extending leader or N mRNA transcripts and found that the ratio of leader/N mRNA for VSV polR1 (1.3:1) was lower than values obtained previously for wild-type (3.7:1).

Keyword(s): polymerase , ribavirin and VSV

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