Phenotypic and genotypic analysis of mouse hepatitis virus (JHM) complementation group A temperature-sensitive mutants

Robin Parrish Stalcup, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Temperature sensitive (ts) mutant viruses have helped elucidate replication processes in many viral systems. Several panels of replication-defective ts mutants in which viral RNA synthesis is abolished at the nonpermissive temperature (RNA$\sp{-})$ have been isolated for Mouse Hepatitis Virus, MHV (Robb et al., 1979; Koolen et al., 1983; Martin et al., 1988; Schaad et al., 1990). However, no one had investigated genetic or phenotypic relationships between these different mutant panels. In order to determine how the panel of MHV-JHM RNA$\sp{-}$ ts mutants (Robb et al., 1979) were genetically related to other described MHV RNA$\sp{-}$ ts mutants, the MHV-JHM mutants were tested for complementation with representatives from two different sets of MHV-A59 ts mutants (Koolen et al., 1983; Schaad et al., 1990). The three ts mutant panels together were found to comprise eight genetically distinct complementation groups. Of these eight complementation groups, three complementation classes are unique to their particular mutant panel; genetically equivalent mutants were not observed within the other two mutant panels. Two complementation groups were common to all three mutant panels. The three remaining complementation groups overlapped two of the three mutant sets. Mutants MHV-JHM tsA204 and MHV-A59 ts261 were shown to be within one of these overlapping complementation groups. The phenotype of the MHV-JHM mutants within this complementation class has been previously characterized (Leibowitz et al., 1982; Leibowitz et al, 1990). When these mutants were grown at the permissive temperature, then shifted up to the nonpermissive temperature at the start of RNA synthesis, genome-length RNA and leader RNA fragments accumulated, but no subgenomic mRNA was synthesized. MHV-A59 ts261 produced leader RNA fragments identical to those observed with MHV-JHM tsA204. Thus, these two MHV RNA$\sp{-}$ ts mutants that were genetically equivalent by complementation testing were phenotypically similar as well. Recombination frequencies obtained from crosses of MHV-A59 ts261 with several of the gene 1 MHV-A59 mutants indicated that the causal mutation(s) of MHV-A59 ts261 was located near the overlapping junction of ORF1a and ORF1b, in the 3$\sp\prime$ end of ORF1a, or the 5$\sp\prime$ end of ORF1b. Sequence analysis of this junction and 1400 nucleotides into the 5$\sp\prime$ end of ORF1b of MHV-A59 ts261 revealed one nucleotide change from the wildtype MHV-A59. This substitution at nucleotide 13,598 (A to G) was a silent mutation in the ORF1a reading frame, but resulted in an amino acid change in ORF1b gene product (I to V). This amino acid change would be expressed only in the readthrough translation product produced upon successful ribosome frameshifting. A revertant of MHV-A59 ts261 (R2) also retained this guanidine residue, but had a second substitution at nucleotide 14,475 in ORF1b. This mutation results in the substitution of valine for an isoleucine. The data presented here suggest that the mutation in MHV-A59 ts261 (nucleotide 13,598) would be responsible for the MHV-JHM complementation group A phenotype. A second-site reversion at nucleotide 14,475 may correct this defect in the revertant. Sequencing of gene 1 immediately upstream of nucleotide 13,296 and downstream of nucleotide 15,010 must be conducted to test this hypothesis.

Subject Area

Microbiology|Molecular biology|Pathology

Recommended Citation

Stalcup, Robin Parrish, "Phenotypic and genotypic analysis of mouse hepatitis virus (JHM) complementation group A temperature-sensitive mutants" (1996). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9626097.