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  1. The cap-independent translation of plus-strand RNA plant viruses frequently depends on 3′ structures to attract translation initiation factors that bind ribosomal subunits or bind directly to ribosomes. Umbraviruses are excellent models for studying 3′ cap-independent translation enhancers (3′CITEs), as umbraviruses can have different 3′CITEs in the central region of their lengthy 3′UTRs, and most also have a particular 3′CITE (the T-shaped structure or 3′TSS) near their 3′ ends. We discovered a novel hairpin just upstream of the centrally located (known or putative) 3′CITEs in all 14 umbraviruses. These CITE-associated structures (CASs) have conserved sequences in their apical loops and at the stem base and adjacent positions. In 11 umbraviruses, CASs are preceded by two small hairpins joined by a putative kissing loop interaction (KL). Converting the conserved 6-nt apical loop to a GNRA tetraloop in opium poppy mosaic virus (OPMV) and pea enation mosaic virus 2 (PEMV2) enhanced translation of genomic (g)RNA, but not subgenomic (sg)RNA reporter constructs, and significantly repressed virus accumulation in Nicotiana benthamiana. Other alterations throughout OPMV CAS also repressed virus accumulation and only enhanced sgRNA reporter translation, while mutations in the lower stem repressed gRNA reporter translation. Similar mutations in the PEMV2 CAS also repressed accumulationmore »but did not significantly affect gRNA or sgRNA reporter translation, with the exception of deletion of the entire hairpin, which only reduced translation of the gRNA reporter. OPMV CAS mutations had little effect on the downstream BTE 3′CITE or upstream KL element, while PEMV2 CAS mutations significantly altered KL structures. These results introduce an additional element associated with different 3′CITEs that differentially affect the structure and translation of different umbraviruses.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2024
  2. Dutch, Rebecca Ellis. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Opium poppy mosaic virus (OPMV) is a recently discovered umbravirus in the family Tombusviridae . OPMV has a plus-sense genomic RNA (gRNA) of 4,241 nucleotides (nt) from which replication protein p35 and p35 extension product p98, the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), are expressed. Movement proteins p27 (long distance) and p28 (cell to cell) are expressed from a 1,440-nt subgenomic RNA (sgRNA2). A highly conserved structure was identified just upstream from the sgRNA2 transcription start site in all umbraviruses, which includes a carmovirus consensus sequence, denoting generation by an RdRp-mediated mechanism. OPMV also has a second sgRNA of 1,554 nt (sgRNA1) that starts just downstream of a canonical exoribonuclease-resistant sequence (xrRNA D ). sgRNA1 codes for a 30-kDa protein in vitro that is in frame with p28 and cannot be synthesized in other umbraviruses. Eliminating sgRNA1 or truncating the p30 open reading frame (ORF) without affecting p28 substantially reduced accumulation of OPMV gRNA, suggesting a functional role for the protein. The 652-nt 3′ untranslated region of OPMV contains two 3′ cap-independent translation enhancers (3′ CITEs), a T-shaped structure (TSS) near its 3′ end, and a Barley yellow dwarf virus -like translation element (BTE) in the central region. Only the BTE is functionalmore »in luciferase reporter constructs containing gRNA or sgRNA2 5′ sequences in vivo , which differs from how umbravirus 3′ CITEs were used in a previous study. Similarly to most 3′ CITEs, the OPMV BTE links to the 5′ end via a long-distance RNA-RNA interaction. Analysis of 14 BTEs revealed additional conserved sequences and structural features beyond the previously identified 17-nt conserved sequence. IMPORTANCE Opium poppy mosaic virus (OPMV) is an umbravirus in the family Tombusviridae . We determined that OPMV accumulates two similarly sized subgenomic RNAs (sgRNAs), with the smaller known to code for proteins expressed from overlapping open reading frames. The slightly larger sgRNA1 has a 5′ end just upstream from a previously predicted xrRNA D site, identifying this sgRNA as an unusually long product produced by exoribonuclease trimming. Although four umbraviruses have similar predicted xrRNA D sites, only sgRNA1 of OPMV can code for a protein that is an extension product of umbravirus ORF4. Inability to generate the sgRNA or translate this protein was associated with reduced gRNA accumulation in vivo . We also characterized the OPMV BTE structure, a 3′ cap-independent translation enhancer (3′ CITE). Comparisons of 13 BTEs with the OPMV BTE revealed additional stretches of sequence similarity beyond the 17-nt signature sequence, as well as conserved structural features not previously recognized in these 3′ CITEs.« less
  3. Palese, Peter (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT The nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) pathway presents a challenge for RNA viruses with termination codons that precede extended 3′ untranslated regions (UTRs). The umbravirus Pea enation mosaic virus 2 (PEMV2) is a nonsegmented, positive-sense RNA virus with an unusually long 3′ UTR that is susceptible to NMD. To establish a systemic infection, the PEMV2 long-distance movement protein p26 was previously shown to both stabilize viral RNAs and bind them for transport through the plant’s vascular system. The current study demonstrated that p26 protects both viral and nonviral messenger RNAs from NMD. Although p26 localizes to both the cytoplasm and nucleolus, p26 exerts its anti-NMD effects exclusively in the cytoplasm independently of long-distance movement. Using a transcriptome-wide approach in the model plant Nicotiana benthamiana , p26 protected a subset of cellular NMD target transcripts, particularly those containing long, structured, GC-rich 3′ UTRs. Furthermore, transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) revealed that the NMD pathway is highly dysfunctional during PEMV2 infection, with 1,820 (48%) of NMD targets increasing in abundance. Widespread changes in the host transcriptome are common during plant RNA virus infections, and these results suggest that, in at least some instances, virus-mediated NMD inhibition may be a major contributing factor. IMPORTANCE Nonsense-mediated decaymore »(NMD) represents an RNA regulatory pathway that degrades both natural and faulty messenger RNAs with long 3′ untranslated regions. NMD targets diverse families of RNA viruses, requiring that viruses counteract the NMD pathway for successful amplification in host cells. A protein required for long-distance movement of Pea enation mosaic virus 2 (PEMV2) is shown to also protect both viral and host mRNAs from NMD. RNA-seq analyses of the Nicotiana benthamiana transcriptome revealed that PEMV2 infection significantly impairs the host NMD pathway. RNA viruses routinely induce large-scale changes in host gene expression, and, like PEMV2, may use NMD inhibition to alter the host transcriptome in an effort to increase virus amplification.« less