1887

Abstract

Identification of the full complement of genes in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a crucial step towards gaining a fuller understanding of its molecular biology. However, short and/or overlapping genes can be difficult to detect using conventional computational approaches, whereas high-throughput experimental approaches – such as ribosome profiling – cannot distinguish translation of functional peptides from regulatory translation or translational noise. By studying regions showing enhanced conservation at synonymous sites in alignments of SARS-CoV-2 and related viruses (subgenus ) and correlating the results with the conserved presence of an open reading frame (ORF) and a plausible translation mechanism, a putative new gene – ORF3c – was identified. ORF3c overlaps ORF3a in an alternative reading frame. A recently published ribosome profiling study confirmed that ORF3c is indeed translated during infection. ORF3c is conserved across the subgenus , and encodes a 40–41 amino acid predicted transmembrane protein.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Andrew Firth , H2020 European Research Council , (Award 646891)
  • Andrew Firth , Wellcome Trust , (Award 106207)
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2020-07-15
2020-12-03
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