Replication of RNA viruses: II. The RNA product of a reaction catalyzed by a viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase

Lucille Shapiro, J. T. August

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In the reaction catalyzed by a viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, synthesis of RNA is directed by the RNA added to the reaction. The added RNA appears to act as template in a synthetic mechanism based on hydrogen-bonded base pairing, because the base composition of RNA synthesized in vitro is complementary to that of the RNA used to direct the reaction. When Escherichia coli W S-RNA is used as template, the RNA product of the reaction serves as a methyl group acceptor in a reaction catalyzed by methylating enzymes specific for S-RNA. The RNA product of the viral RNA polymerase reaction is partially resistant to RNase. As indicated by changes in RNase sensitivity during thermal denaturation and renaturation, the RNA product possesses a high degree of secondary structure. These results are discussed in relation to the mechanism of replication of RNA viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-284
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of molecular biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1965


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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