Baculoviruses are a group of insect viruses with large circular dsDNA genomes exploited in numerous biotechnological applications, such as the biological control of agricultural pests, the expression of recombinant proteins or the gene delivery of therapeutic sequences in mammals, among others. Their genomes encode between 80 and 200 proteins, of which 38 are shared by all reported species. Thanks to multi-omic studies, there is remarkable information about the baculoviral proteome and the temporality in the virus gene expression. This allows some functional elements of the genome to be very well described, such as promoters and open reading frames. However, less information is available about the transcription termination signals and, consequently, there are still imprecisions about what are the limits of the transcriptional units present in the baculovirus genomes and how is the processing of the 3' end of viral mRNA. Regarding to this, in this review we provide an update about the characteristics of DNA signals involved in this process and we contribute to their correct prediction through an exhaustive analysis that involves bibliography information, data mining, RNA structure and a comprehensive study of the core gene 3' ends from 180 baculovirus genomes.
Keywords: Baculoviridae; RNA structure; mRNA; pattern-searching; polyadenylation process.