1887

Abstract

Replicon systems are important tools for investigating viral RNA synthesis. We have developed an ambisense minigenome system for Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) with the aim to analyse the effects of L gene mutations on viral transcription versus replication. The overall activity of the replication complex was assessed by expression of a luciferase reporter gene. Northern blot analysis enabled differentiation between synthesis of viral mRNA and replication intermediates. The functionality of the system was demonstrated by probing residues predictably involved in the cap-snatching endonuclease active site in the L protein. Corresponding mutations led to a selective defect in the viral mRNA synthesis as described for other bunyaviruses. The analysis of further L gene mutants revealed an essential role of a C-terminal region in the RVFV L protein in viral transcription. In summary, the established minigenome system is suitable for functional testing of the relevance of residues for viral transcription and replication.

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2019-06-06
2019-10-20
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