Role of the 3'UTR in translation and stability of HCV and HPV mRNAs
Virus mRNAs can be divided into functional regions. The focus of this thesis will be to investigate the function of one of these regions, the 3’ untranslated region (UTR). The 3’UTR of HCV contains a U-rich element and the late 3’UTR of HPV-1 contains an AU-rich element. The roles of these regions in translation and stability of HCV and HPV have been studied. A method was established for studying translation of HCV mRNA in living cells. Noninfectious minivirus clones were synthesised in vitro and were transfected into cells by electroporation. This made it possible to bypass the nucleus and to transfer RNA directly into the cell cytoplasm. We found that HCV mRNAs that are translated from the HCV internal ribosome entry site (IRES) are inefficiently translated in comparison to capped and polyadenylated cellular mRNAs. Interestingly, the addition of a cap and a poly(A) tail resulted in a tremendous increase in the initiation of translation at the HCV IRES. This was the result of a discontinuous scanning or shunting mechanism. We also found that the 3’UTR had a small but not significant effect on the virus mRNA translation. Next, we set up an in vitro stability assay to investigate if HCV 3’UTR affects the stability of the virus mRNA. We found that the HCV 3’UTR is very unstable but interaction with the cellular La protein protects the mRNA from premature degradation.In parallel experiments, we studied translation and stability of the HPV-1 late mRNAs. By studying an AU-rich sequence in the 3’UTR, we mapped two minimal inhibitory sequence elements, UAUUUAU and UAUUUUUAU that reduced mRNA half-life. We found that the same motifs in the AU-rich element inhibit mRNA translation, demonstrating that the AU-rich element acts via a bimodal mechanism to reduce mRNA stability and inhibit translation.
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:MEDICINE; Chemistry; Biochemistry; Biochemistry; Hepatitis C virus; Human Papillomavirus; 3’ untranslated region; AU-rich sequence; mRNA stability; translation; Biokemi; medicinsk virologi; Medical Virology
Date of Publication:01/01/2002