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An analysis by metabolic labelling of the encephalomyocarditis virus ribosomal frameshifting efficiency and stimulators

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Firth, AE 
Ling, R 


Programmed −1 ribosomal frameshifting is a mechanism of gene expression whereby specific signals within messenger RNAs direct a proportion of ribosomes to shift −1 nt and continue translating in the new reading frame. Such frameshifting normally depends on an RNA structure stimulator 3-adjacent to a ‘slippery’ heptanucleotide shift site sequence. Recently we identified an unusual frameshifting mechanism in encephalomyocarditis virus, where the stimulator involves a trans-acting virus protein. Thus, in contrast to other examples of −1 frameshifting, the efficiency of frameshifting in encephalomyocarditis virus is best studied in the context of virus infection. Here we use metabolic labelling to analyse the frameshifting efficiency of wild-type and mutant viruses. Confirming previous results, frameshifting depends on a G_GUU_UUU shift site sequence and a 3-adjacent stem-loop structure, but is not appreciably affected by the ‘StopGo’ sequence present ~30 nt upstream. At late timepoints, frameshifting was estimated to be 46–76 % efficient.



gene expression, protein synthesis, translational control, ribosomal frameshifting, genetic recoding, virus

Journal Title

Journal of General Virology

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Society for General Microbiology
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/J007072/1)
Wellcome Trust (088789/Z/09/Z)
Wellcome Trust (106207/Z/14/Z)
European Research Council (646891)
Wellcome Trust [088789, 106207], UK Biotechnology and Biological Research Council (BBSRC) [BB/J007072/1], European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme [grant agreement No (646891)].