Interference with bacteriophage φ6 genomic RNA packaging by hairpin structures

Xueying Qiao, Jian Qiao, Leonard Mindich

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19 Scopus citations


Bacteriophage Φ6 has a genome of three segments of double-stranded RNA enclosed in a procapsid composed of four different proteins. The preformed procapsid is capable of packaging plus-strand transcripts of the genomic segments in an in vitro reaction. Minus-strand synthesis within the procapsid then results in the production of the double-stranded RNA genome. When plus- strand transcripts contain strong hairpin structures near the 3' ends, they are subject to heterologous recombination to remove the hairpins. We now find that the sequences bounded by the hairpins as well as those 3' to them are excluded from particles in packaging reactions. This finding implies that packaging occurs from the 5' end and that the explanation for the facilitation of recombination by the hairpin structures is the lack of entry of the 3' ends rather than a difficulty of progressing through the hairpin by the phage polymerase. Packaging of segment M is dependent on the packaging of segment S. An S segment containing a strong hairpin is able to facilitate the packaging of segment M. This result implies that there is more than one entry pore into the procapsid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5502-5505
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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