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      Structural Lability in Stem–Loop 1 Drives a 5′ UTR–3′ UTR Interaction in Coronavirus Replication


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          The leader RNA of the 5′ untranslated region (UTR) of coronaviral genomes contains two stem–loop structures denoted SL1 and SL2. Herein, we show that SL1 is functionally and structurally bipartite. While the upper region of SL1 is required to be paired, we observe strong genetic selection against viruses that contain a deletion of A35, an extrahelical nucleotide that destabilizes SL1, in favor of genomes that contain a diverse panel of destabilizing second-site mutations, due to introduction of a noncanonical base pair near A35. Viruses containing destabilizing SL1-ΔA35 mutations also contain one of two specific mutations in the 3′ UTR. Thermal denaturation and imino proton solvent exchange experiments reveal that the lower half of SL1 is unstable and that second-site SL1-ΔA35 substitutions are characterized by one or more features of the wild-type SL1. We propose a “dynamic SL1” model, in which the base of SL1 has an optimized lability required to mediate a physical interaction between the 5′ UTR and the 3′ UTR that stimulates subgenomic RNA synthesis. Although not conserved at the nucleotide sequence level, these general structural characteristics of SL1 appear to be conserved in other coronaviral genomes.

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          Most cited references35

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          A novel coronavirus associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome.

          A worldwide outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has been associated with exposures originating from a single ill health care worker from Guangdong Province, China. We conducted studies to identify the etiologic agent of this outbreak. We received clinical specimens from patients in seven countries and tested them, using virus-isolation techniques, electron-microscopical and histologic studies, and molecular and serologic assays, in an attempt to identify a wide range of potential pathogens. None of the previously described respiratory pathogens were consistently identified. However, a novel coronavirus was isolated from patients who met the case definition of SARS. Cytopathological features were noted in Vero E6 cells inoculated with a throat-swab specimen. Electron-microscopical examination revealed ultrastructural features characteristic of coronaviruses. Immunohistochemical and immunofluorescence staining revealed reactivity with group I coronavirus polyclonal antibodies. Consensus coronavirus primers designed to amplify a fragment of the polymerase gene by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) were used to obtain a sequence that clearly identified the isolate as a unique coronavirus only distantly related to previously sequenced coronaviruses. With specific diagnostic RT-PCR primers we identified several identical nucleotide sequences in 12 patients from several locations, a finding consistent with a point-source outbreak. Indirect fluorescence antibody tests and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays made with the new isolate have been used to demonstrate a virus-specific serologic response. This virus may never before have circulated in the U.S. population. A novel coronavirus is associated with this outbreak, and the evidence indicates that this virus has an etiologic role in SARS. Because of the death of Dr. Carlo Urbani, we propose that our first isolate be named the Urbani strain of SARS-associated coronavirus. Copyright 2003 Massachusetts Medical Society
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            Characterization of a novel coronavirus associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome.

            P Rota (2003)
            In March 2003, a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV) was discovered in association with cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The sequence of the complete genome of SARS-CoV was determined, and the initial characterization of the viral genome is presented in this report. The genome of SARS-CoV is 29,727 nucleotides in length and has 11 open reading frames, and its genome organization is similar to that of other coronaviruses. Phylogenetic analyses and sequence comparisons showed that SARS-CoV is not closely related to any of the previously characterized coronaviruses.
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              Characterization and complete genome sequence of a novel coronavirus, coronavirus HKU1, from patients with pneumonia.

              Despite extensive laboratory investigations in patients with respiratory tract infections, no microbiological cause can be identified in a significant proportion of patients. In the past 3 years, several novel respiratory viruses, including human metapneumovirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (SARS-CoV), and human coronavirus NL63, were discovered. Here we report the discovery of another novel coronavirus, coronavirus HKU1 (CoV-HKU1), from a 71-year-old man with pneumonia who had just returned from Shenzhen, China. Quantitative reverse transcription-PCR showed that the amount of CoV-HKU1 RNA was 8.5 to 9.6 x 10(6) copies per ml in his nasopharyngeal aspirates (NPAs) during the first week of the illness and dropped progressively to undetectable levels in subsequent weeks. He developed increasing serum levels of specific antibodies against the recombinant nucleocapsid protein of CoV-HKU1, with immunoglobulin M (IgM) titers of 1:20, 1:40, and 1:80 and IgG titers of <1:1,000, 1:2,000, and 1:8,000 in the first, second and fourth weeks of the illness, respectively. Isolation of the virus by using various cell lines, mixed neuron-glia culture, and intracerebral inoculation of suckling mice was unsuccessful. The complete genome sequence of CoV-HKU1 is a 29,926-nucleotide, polyadenylated RNA, with G+C content of 32%, the lowest among all known coronaviruses with available genome sequence. Phylogenetic analysis reveals that CoV-HKU1 is a new group 2 coronavirus. Screening of 400 NPAs, negative for SARS-CoV, from patients with respiratory illness during the SARS period identified the presence of CoV-HKU1 RNA in an additional specimen, with a viral load of 1.13 x 10(6) copies per ml, from a 35-year-old woman with pneumonia. Our data support the existence of a novel group 2 coronavirus associated with pneumonia in humans.

                Author and article information

                J Mol Biol
                J. Mol. Biol
                Journal of Molecular Biology
                2 February 2008
                28 March 2008
                2 February 2008
                : 377
                : 3
                : 790-803
                [1 ]Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2128, USA
                [2 ]Department of Microbial and Molecular Pathogenesis, Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, College Station, TX 77843-4467, USA
                [3 ]Department of Chemistry, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding authors. David P. Giedroc is to be contacted at Department of Chemistry, Indiana University, 800 East Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47405-7102, USA. Tel.: +1 812 856 5449; fax: +1 812 855 8300. Julian L. Leibowitz, Tel.: +1 979 845 7288; fax: +1 979 845 1299. jleibowitz@ 123456tamu.edu giedroc@ 123456indiana.edu

                L.L. and H.K. contributed equally to this work.

                Copyright © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.

                : 7 September 2007
                : 21 January 2008
                : 23 January 2008

                Molecular biology
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