Hepatitis C virus (HCV) genome contains a 3′noncoding region (3′NCR) consisting of a variable region, a polypyrimidine tract (polyU/UC) and the X region. To examine the roles of 3′NCR and polyU/UC tract in the internal ribosome entry site (IRES)-mediated translation process, a variety of 3′NCRs containing different lengths of polyU/UC tract were obtained from HCV infected patients and cloned respectively to the downstream of the firefly luciferase coding gene linked to HCV 5′NCR and 30 nucleotides of core gene (containing IRES element). The results of in vitro translation in rabbit reticulocyte lysate (RRL) and cell transfection assay in mammalian cells showed that the IRES-mediated translation efficiency could be enhanced by the full-length of 3′NCR of HCV RNA. However, contradictory results were observed when the role of polyU/UC tract in the IRES-mediated translation was studied. While the IRES-mediated translation efficiency was inhibited by the presence of polyU/UC tract in in vitro translation experiments, transfection of these expression cassettes into hepatic cell line showed that polyU/UC tract enhanced IRES-mediated translation efficiency in vivo . Cellular-fraction complement experiments showed that cellular factors were required for the enhancement by the polyU/UC tract. Further antibody blocking assay and UV cross-linking assay suggested the correlation of IRES-mediated translation with host factors, including the La protein. The data above also indicated that the modulations of the IRES-mediated translation by the HCV 3′NCR and the polyU/UC tract were in a length-independent manner.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 1, 2005
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