Autocatalytic replication of a recombinant RNA

Eleanor A. Miele, Donald R. Mills, Fred Russell Kramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


We demonstrate that a heterologous RNA sequence can be copied in vitro by Qβ replicase when it is inserted into a naturally occurring Qβ replicase template. A recombinant RNA was constructed by inserting decaadenylic acid between nucleotides 63 and 64 of MDV-1 (+) RNA, using phage T4 RNA ligase. The insert was located away from regions of the template known to be required for the binding of the replicase and for the initiation of product strand synthesis. To minimize the disruption of template structure, we inserted the heterologous sequence into a hairpin loop on the exterior of the molecule. Qβ replicase copied this recombinant RNA in vitro, and the complementary product strands served as templates for the synthesis of additional copies of the original recombinant RNA. The reaction was therefore autocatalytic and the amount of recombinant RNA increased exponentially. A 300-fold amplification of the recombinant RNA occurred within nine minutes. Insertion of biologically significant RNAs into the MDV-1 RNA sequence should allow them to be replicated autocatalytically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-295
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of molecular biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 15 1983
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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