Coupled translation of the respiratory syncytial virus M2 open reading frames requires upstream sequences

Phillip S. Gould, Andrew J. Easton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


We have investigated the mechanism of the translation of the second open reading frame (ORF) of the respiratory syncytial virus M2 transcript that uses a novel coupled translation process requiring prior translation of the upstream ORF. The second M2-2 ORF sequences play no role in the coupling process and can be replaced with other gene sequences. Surprisingly, the overlap region of the two ORFs alone was not sufficient for coupled translation to occur. An analysis of the sequences required for the coupling process showed that portions of the transcript located along the length of the first ORF M2-1, upstream of the ORF overlap region, were essential for coupled translation to occur. A critically important region for this process was centered ∼150 nucleotides upstream of the ORF2 initiation codons. This region was shown to contain a significant degree of secondary structure, and mutation of this sequence to remove predicted areas of base pairing significantly reduced coupled translation, confirming that the secondary structure was important for the coupling process. Additional sequences further upstream increased the efficiency of the coupled translation process. These data indicate that upstream sequences act in conjunction with the M2-1/M2-2 overlap region to promote coupled translation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21972-21980
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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