A complex pattern of gene expression was found for visna virus in a highly permissive cell culture system in vitro. In addition to the genomic RNA (9.4 kilobases [kb], five other mRNAs were detected. The three large RNA transcripts (5.0 kb and a doublet at 4.3 kb) arise by a single splicing event joining 5' sequences to sequences located at positions 3' to the pol gene. The two smallest transcripts (1.8 and 1.5 kb) are at least doubly spliced mRNAs which contain sequences derived from the 5' end of the genome, the region between the pol and env genes, and 3' terminal sequences. In addition to this complex pattern of transcription, the mRNAs appear to be regulated temporally. The 1.5-kb mRNA appears 6 h later than the other trascripts. The significance of this complex pattern of gene expression in the unique aspects of the lentivirus life cycle and pathogenesis is considered.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science