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Virology

Temperature requirements for initiation of RNA-dependent RNA polymerization.


PMID 14554097

Abstract

To continue the molecular characterization of RNA-dependent RNA polymerases of dsRNA bacteriophages (Cystoviridae), we purified and biochemically characterized the wild-type (wt) and a temperature-sensitive (ts) point mutant of the polymerase subunit (Pol) from bacteriophage phi12. Interestingly, initiation by both wt and the ts phi12 Pol was notably more sensitive to increased temperatures than the elongation step, the absolute value of the nonpermissive temperature being lower for the ts enzyme. Experiments with the Pol subunit of related cystovirus phi6 revealed a similar differential sensitivity of the initiation and elongation steps. This is consistent with the previous result showing that de novo initiation by RdRp from dengue virus is inhibited at elevated temperatures, whereas the elongation phase is relatively thermostable. Overall, these data suggest that de novo RNA-dependent RNA synthesis in many viral systems includes a specialized thermolabile state of the RdRp initiation complex.