Flaviviruses are enveloped arthropod-borne viruses with a single-stranded, positive-sense RNA genome that can cause serious illness in humans and animals. The 11 kb 5' capped RNA genome consists of a single open reading frame (ORF), and is flanked by 5' and 3' untranslated regions (UTR). The ORF is a polyprotein that is processed into three structural and seven non-structural proteins. The UTRs have been shown to be important for viral replication and immune modulation. Both of these regions consist of elements that are essential for genome cyclization, resulting in initiation of RNA synthesis. Genome mutation studies have been employed to investigate each component of the essential elements to show the necessity of each component and its role in viral RNA replication and growth. Furthermore, the highly structured 3'UTR is responsible for the generation of subgenomic flavivirus RNA (sfRNA) that helps the virus evade host immune response, thereby affecting viral pathogenesis. In addition, changes within the 3'UTR have been shown to affect transmissibility between vector and host, which can influence the development of vaccines.
Keywords: 3’untranslated region (3’UTR); Flavivirus; subgenomic flaviviral RNA (sfRNA); viral replication.