Translation initiation in GB viruses A and C: evidence for internal ribosome entry and implications for genome organization
Journal of Virology
GB viruses A and C (GBV-A and GBV-C) are two recently described RNA viruses which appear to be members of the Flaviviridae. Although both viruses appear to contain long 5 nontranslated regions, the sites of polyprotein initiation and the presence of core-like proteins remain to be determined. Translation studies were undertaken to determine the mechanism and sites of polyprotein initiation in GBV-A and GBV-C. Rabbit reticulocyte lysates programmed with monocistronic RNAs containing 5 ends of
... aining 5 ends of GBV-A or GBV-C fused in-frame with the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) open reading frame generated GBV-CAT fusion proteins in vitro. Site-specific mutagenesis and N-terminal sequencing located the sites of translation initiation immediately upstream of the putative signal sequence for the GBV E1 envelope glycoproteins. Efficient translation of the monocistronic GBV-CAT RNAs required the inclusion of GBV coding sequences. This, coupled with the presence of at least 523 nucleotides of 5 nontranslated RNA containing multiple AUG codons, suggests that translation initiation of these RNAs did not utilize a ribosome scanning mechanism. Translation of bicistronic RNAs containing 5 nontranslated sequences within the intercistronic space was consistent with the presence of a weakly active internal ribosome entry site in both GBV-A and GBV-C. Secondary structure predictions indicate that the 5 ends of these viruses assume similar complex structures distinct from those identified in the internal ribosome entry site-containing picornaviruses, pestiviruses, and hepatitis C viruses. The data indicate that GBV-A and GBV-C are unique members of the Flaviviridae that do not contain core-like proteins at the N termini of their putative polyproteins.