The 5' and 3' downstream AUG region elements are required for mosquito-borne flavivirus RNA replication.


Flaviviruses require complementarity between the 5' and 3' ends of the genome for RNA replication. For mosquito-borne flaviviruses, the cyclization sequences (CS) and upstream of AUG region (UAR) elements at the genomic termini are necessary for viral RNA replication, and a third motif, the downstream of AUG region (DAR), was recently designated for dengue virus. The 3' DAR sequence is also part of a hairpin (HP-3'SL), and both complementarity between 5' and 3' DAR motifs and formation of the HP-3'SL in the absence of the 5' end are conserved among mosquito-borne flaviviruses. Using West Nile virus as a model, we demonstrate that 5'-3' DAR complementarity and HP-3'SL formation are essential for viral RNA replication.

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