Heterologous recombination in the double-stranded RNA bacteriophage φ6

L. Mindich, X. Qiao, S. Onodera, P. Gottlieb, J. Strassman

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35 Scopus citations


Bacteriophage φ6 contains three double-stranded RNA genomic segments. We have constructed a virus with an insertion of a kanamycin resistance gene in genomic RNA segment M. The virus forms small, turbid plaques, and its genome is unstable. Virus from a single plaque contained from about 0.1 to 10% large clear-plaque forms of the virus; these were usually missing the kanamycin resistance gene, and in many cases, the resulting segment M was larger or smaller than its normal size. Sequence analysis of the genomic RNA of the apparent deletions showed that they were formed by recombination events between segment M and either segment S or L. These heterologous recombination events resulted in the loss of the kanamycin resistance gene from segment M and the replacement of the 3' end of segment M with the 3' end of segment S or L. Although the 3' ends of the single-stranded RNA transcripts of the genomic segments appear to have extensive secondary structure, the sequences at the 3' ends are not involved in the specificity of genomic packaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2605-2610
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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