Hantavirus - Virology - Genome


Like other members of the bunyavirus family, hantaviruses are enveloped viruses with a genome that consists of three single-stranded, negative sense RNA segments designated S (small), M (medium), and L (large). The S RNA encodes the nucleocapsid (N) protein. The M RNA encodes a polyprotein that is cotranslationally cleaved to yield the envelope glycoproteins Gn (formerly G1) and Gc (formerly G2).

The L RNA encodes the L protein, which functions as the viral transcriptase/replicase. Within virions, the genomic RNAs of hantaviruses are thought to complex with the N protein to form helical nucleocapsids, the RNA component of which circularizes due to sequence complementarity between the 5' and 3' terminal sequences of genomic segments.

As with other Bunyaviridae, each of the three segments has a consensus 39-terminal nucleotide sequence (AUCAUCAUC), which is complementary to the 59 terminal sequence and is distinct from those of the other four genera in the family. These sequences may form panhandle structures which seem likely to play a role in replication. The large segment is 6530-6550 nucleotides (nt) in length, the medium is 3613-3707 nt in length and the small is 1696-2083 nt in length.

No nonstructural proteins are known unlike the other genera in this family. At the 5' and 3' of each segment are short noncoding sequences: the noncoding segment in all sequences at the 5' end is 37-51 nt. The 3' noncoding regions differ: L segment 38-43 nt; M segment 168-229 nt; and S segment 370-730 nt. The 3'end of the S segment is conserved between the genera suggesting a functional role.

Read more about this topic:  Hantavirus, Virology

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