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Title: Orsay virus utilizes ribosomal frameshifting to express a novel protein that is incorporated into virions

Orsay virus is the first identified virus that is capable of naturally infecting Caenorhabditis elegans. Although it is most closely related to nodaviruses, Orsay virus differs from nodaviruses in its genome organization. In particular, the Orsay virus RNA2 segment encodes a putative novel protein of unknown function, termed delta, which is absent from all known nodaviruses. Here we present evidence that Orsay virus utilizes a ribosomal frameshifting strategy to express a novel fusion protein from the viral capsid (alpha) and delta ORFs. Moreover, the fusion protein was detected in purified virus fractions, demonstrating that it is most likely incorporated into Orsay virions. Furthermore, N-terminal sequencing of both the fusion protein and the capsid protein demonstrated that these proteins must be translated from a non-canonical initiation site. While the function of the alpha–delta fusion remains cryptic, these studies provide novel insights into the fundamental properties of this new clade of viruses. - Highlights: • Orsay virus encodes a novel fusion protein by a ribosomal frameshifting mechanism. • Orsay capsid and fusion protein is translated from a non-canonical initiation site. • The fusion protein is likely incorporated into Orsay virions.
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  1. Departments of Molecular Microbiology and Pathology and Immunology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110 (United States)
  2. Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1QP (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Virology; Journal Volume: 450-451; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2014 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States