Two cis-acting elements in negative RNA strand of hepatitis C virus involved in synthesis of positive RNA strand in vitro

L. Ye, K. A. Timani, L. Ye, L. Kong, X. Yang, Q. Liao, J. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Sequences at the 3′-ends of both positive and negative strands of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA harbor cis-acting elements required for RNA replication. However, little is known about the properties of the negative RNA strand as a template for the synthesis of positive RNA strand. In this study, a purified recombinant HCV RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) was used to investigate the synthesis of positive RNA strand using the 3′-terminal region of negative RNA strand ((-)3′T RNA) as template. A mutagenesis analysis was performed to evaluate the role of the 3'-proximal stem-loop and the first 3′-cytidylate (3′C) of the negative RNA strand in the synthesis of the positive RNA strand. A negative RNA strand of wild type (wt) HCV as template was able to direct the synthesis of a full-length positive RNA strand. Deletion of the 3′-proximal stem-loop resulted in an approximately 90% decrease in RNA synthesis. Disruption of the 3′-proximal stem-loop structure by nucleotide substitutions led to a 70-80% decrease in RNA synthesis. However, the restoration of the stem-loop by compensatory mutations in the stem region restored also the RNA synthesis. Likewise, the deletion or substitution of the first 3′C by guanylate (G) led to a 90% decrease in the RNA synthesis; while the substitution by adenylate (A) or uridylate (U) resulted in a 60-80% decrease in the RNA synthesis only. These findings demonstrate that the 3′-proximal stem-loop and the first 3′C of the negative RNA strand of HCV are two cis-acting elements involved in the synthesis of the positive RNA strand.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-90
Number of pages8
JournalActa Virologica
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2005



  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Negative RNA strand
  • Positive RNA strand
  • RNA
  • RNA synthesis
  • RNA-dependent RNA polymerase
  • cis-acting element

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