Broad spectrum of in vivo forward mutations, hypermutations, and mutational hotspots in a retroviral shuttle vector after a single replication cycle: deletions and deletions with insertions

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 Aug;87(16):6024-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.87.16.6024.


In the preceding paper we described an experiment that determined the in vivo forward mutation rate in a single replication cycle for spleen necrosis virus. In addition to substitutions, frameshifts, and hypermutations, the mutated proviruses contained two classes of deletions. One class of deletions contained short direct repeats at the deletion junctions. Another class of deletions had short stretches of sequences inserted at the deletion junctions. In this report, we describe the deletion mutations, and we present models for their generation. Detailed analysis of two deletions with insertions indicates that these mutations occurred as a result of template switching during plus-strand DNA synthesis. The analysis also indicates that fragments of viral RNA generated by the viral RNase H endonuclease are used as templates and contribute to the sequences inserted at the deletion junctions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Composition
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line
  • Chromosome Deletion*
  • DNA Replication*
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • Endoribonucleases
  • Genetic Vectors*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation*
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • Retroviridae / genetics*
  • Retroviridae / physiology
  • Ribonuclease H
  • Transfection
  • Virus Replication*


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • RNA, Viral
  • Endoribonucleases
  • Ribonuclease H