Highly diverse intergenic regions of the paramyxovirus simian virus 5 cooperate with the gene end U tract in viral transcription termination and can influence reinitiation at a downstream gene

J Virol. 1999 May;73(5):3904-12. doi: 10.1128/JVI.73.5.3904-3912.1999.


A dicistronic minigenome containing the M-F gene junction was used to determine the role of the simian virus 5 (SV5) intergenic regions in transcription. The M-F junction differs from the other SV5 junctions by having a short M gene end U tract of only four residues (U4 tract) and a 22-base M-F intergenic sequence between the M gene end and F gene start site. Replacing the 22-base M-F intergenic region with nonviral sequences resulted in a minigenome template (Rep 22) that was defective in termination at the end of the M gene. Efficient M gene termination could be restored to the mutant Rep 22 template in either of two ways: by increasing the U tract length from four to six residues or by restoring a G residue immediately downstream of the wild-type (WT) U4 tract. In a dicistronic SH-HN minigenome, a U4-G combination was functionally equivalent to the naturally occurring SH U6-A gene end in directing SH transcription termination. In addition to affecting termination, the M-F intergenic region also influenced polymerase reinitiation. In the context of the WT U4-G M gene end, substituting nonviral sequences into the M-F intergenic region had a differential effect on F gene reinitiation, where some but not all nonviral sequences inhibited reinitiation. The inhibition of F gene reinitiation correlated with foreign sequences having a high C content. Deleting 6 bases or inserting 18 additional nucleotides into the middle of the 22-base M-F intergenic segment did not influence M gene termination or F gene reinitiation, indicating that M-F intergenic length per se is not a important factor modulating the SV5 polymerase activity. Our results suggest that the sequence diversity at an SV5 gene junction reflects specific combinations which may differentially affect SV5 gene expression and provide an additional level of transcriptional control beyond that which results from the distance of a gene from the 3' end promoter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral*
  • Genes, Viral*
  • Humans
  • Respirovirus / genetics*
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Fusion Proteins / genetics


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • Viral Fusion Proteins