Coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) is a picornavirus which causes myocarditis and pancreatitis and may play a role in type I diabetes. The viral genome is a single 7,400-nucleotide polyadenylated RNA encoding 11 proteins in a single open reading frame. The 5′ end of the viral genome contains a highly structured nontranslated region (5′NTR) which folds to form an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) as well as structures responsible for genome replication, both of which are critical for virulence. A structural model of the CVB3 5′NTR, generated primarily by comparative sequence analysis and energy minimization, shows seven domains (I to VII). While this model provides a preliminary basis for structural analysis, the model lacks comprehensive experimental validation. Here we provide experimental evidence from chemical modification analysis to determine the structure of the CVB3 5′NTR. Chemical probing results show that the theoretical model for the CYB3 5′NTR is largely, but not completely, supported experimentally. In combination with our chemical probing data, we have used the RNASTRUCTURE algorithm and sequence comparison of 105 enterovirus sequences to provide evidence for novel secondary and tertiary interactions. A comprehensive examination of secondary structure is discussed, along with new evidence for tertiary interactions. These include a loop E motif in domain III and a long-range pairing interaction that links domain II to domain V. The results of our work provide mechanistic insight into key functional elements in the cloverleaf and IRES, thereby establishing a base of structural information from which to interpret experiments with CVB3 and other picornaviruses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science