Efficient resolution of replicated poxvirus telomeres to native hairpin structures requires two inverted symmetrical copies of a core target DNA sequence

A. M. DeLange, G. McFadden

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37 Scopus citations


The terminal hairpin sequences of the linear double-stranded DNA genome of the leporipoxvirus Shope fibroma virus (SFV) has been cloned in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and in recombination-deficient Escherichia coli as a palindromic insert within circular plasmid vectors. This sequence configuration is equivalent to the inverted repeat structure detected as a telomeric replicative intermediate during poxvirus replication in vivo. Previously, it has been shown that when circular plasmids containing this palindromic insert were transfected into SFV-infected cells, efficient replication and resolution generated linear minichromosomes with bona fide viral hairpin termini (A.M. DeLange, M. Reddy, D. Scraba, C. Upton, and G. McFadden, J. Virol. 59:249-259, 1986). To localize the minimal target DNA sequence required for efficient resolution, a series of staggered unidirectional deletions were constructed at both ends of the inverted repeat. Analyses of the resolution efficiencies of the various clones indicate that up to 240 base pairs (bp) centered at the symmetry axis were required for maximal resolution to minichromosomes. To investigate the role of the AT-rich central axis sequences, which in SFV include 8 nonpalindromic bp, a unique AflII site at the symmetry axis was exploited. Bidirectional deletions extending from this AflII site and insertions of synthetic oligonucleotides into one of the deletion derivatives were constructed and tested in vivo. The efficiency with which these plasmids resolved to linear minichromosomes with hairpin termini has enabled us to define the minimal target DNA sequence as two inverted copies of an identical DNA sequence between 58 and 76 bp in length. The nonpalindromic nucleotides, which, after resolution, constitute the extrahelical residues characteristic of native poxviral telomeres, were not required for resolution. The close resemblance of the SFV core target sequence to the analogous region from the orthopoxvirus vaccinia virus is consistent with a conserved mechanism for poxviral telomere resolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1957-1963
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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