Kissing-loop interaction between 5′ and 3′ ends of tick-borne Langat virus genome ‘bridges the gap’ between mosquito- and tick-borne flaviviruses in mechanisms of viral RNA cyclization: applications for virus attenuation and vaccine development

Abstract

Insertion of microRNA target sequences into the flavivirus genome results in selective tissue-specific attenuation and host-range restriction of live attenuated vaccine viruses. However, previous strategies for miRNA-targeting did not incorporate a mechanism to prevent target elimination under miRNA-mediated selective pressure, restricting their use in vaccine development. To overcome this limitation, we developed a new approach for miRNA-targeting of tick-borne flavivirus (Langat virus, LGTV) in the duplicated capsid gene region (DCGR). Genetic stability of viruses with DCGR was ensured by the presence of multiple cis-acting elements within the N-terminal capsid coding region, including the stem-loop structure (5'SL6) at the 3' end of the promoter. We found that the 5'SL6 functions as a structural scaffold for the conserved hexanucleotide motif at its tip and engages in a complementary interaction with the region present in the 3' NCR to enhance viral RNA replication. The resulting kissing-loop interaction, common in tick-borne flaviviruses, supports a single pair of cyclization elements (CYC) and functions as a homolog of the second pair of CYC that is present in the majority of mosquito-borne flaviviruses. Placing miRNA targets into the DCGR results in superior attenuation of LGTV in the CNS and does not interfere with development of protective immunity in immunized mice.

DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkw061

Extracted Key Phrases

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Tsetsarkin2016KissingloopIB, title={Kissing-loop interaction between 5′ and 3′ ends of tick-borne Langat virus genome ‘bridges the gap’ between mosquito- and tick-borne flaviviruses in mechanisms of viral RNA cyclization: applications for virus attenuation and vaccine development}, author={Konstantin A. Tsetsarkin and Guangping Liu and Kui Shen and Alexander G. Pletnev}, booktitle={Nucleic acids research}, year={2016} }