Analysis of porcine transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV) and porcine respiratory coronavirus (PRCV) mRNA species indicated a deletion in mRNA 3 of PRCV. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to clone the 5′ end of mRNA 3 from PRCV for comparison with the equivalent region in TGEV. Small deletions were observed within and around the PRCV sequence equivalent to the putative open reading frame (ORF) ORF-3a identified in TGEV. The potential RNA polymerase-leader complex binding site (leader RNA binding site), ACTAAAC, found upstream of ORF-3a in TGEV, was absent from the PRCV genome but a potential site was found in the PRCV genome upstream of a gene equivalent to TGEV ORF-3b. PCR analysis, using primers corresponding to sequences within the ORF-3b gene and the leader RNA sequence, confirmed that the leader RNA binding site was upstream of a gene equivalent to TGEV ORF-3b on PRCV mRNA 3 but upstream of ORF-3a on TGEV mRNA 3. The presence of the new leader RNA binding site would be responsible for generating the smaller mRNA 3 species found in PRCV-infected cells.


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