Engineering of homologous recombination hotspots with AU-rich sequences in brome mosaic virus

Peter D. Nagy, Jozef J. Bujarski

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85 Scopus citations


Previously, we observed that crossovers sites of RNA recombinants clustered within or close to AU-rich regions during genetic recombination in brome mosaic bromovirus (BMV) (P. D. Nagy and J. J. Bujarski. J. Virol. 70:415-426, 1996). To test whether AU-rich sequences can facilitate homologous recombination, AU-rich sequences were introduced into parental BMV RNAs (RNA2 and RNA3). These insertions created a homologous RNA2-RNA3 recombination hotspot. Two other AU-rich sequences also supported high- frequency homologous recombination if a common sequence with high or average G/C content was present immediately upstream of the AU-rich element. Homologous RNA recombination did not require any additional sequence motifs or RNA structures and was position nonspecific within the 3' noncoding region. These results suggest that nucleotide content (i.e., the presence of common 5' GC-rich or moderately AU-rich and 3' AU-rich regions) is the important factor that determines the sites of homologous recombination. A mechanism that involves replicase switching during synthesis of positive- sense RNA strands is presented to explain the observed results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3799-3810
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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