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Viruses 2014, 6(2), 489-506; doi:10.3390/v6020489

Structural Analyses of Avocado sunblotch viroid Reveal Differences in the Folding of Plus and Minus RNA Strands

Received: 3 December 2013 / Revised: 21 January 2014 / Accepted: 22 January 2014 / Published: 29 January 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Viruses)
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Viroids are small pathogenic circular single-stranded RNAs, present in two complementary sequences, named plus and minus, in infected plant cells. A high degree of complementarities between different regions of the RNAs allows them to adopt complex structures. Since viroids are naked non-coding RNAs, interactions with host factors appear to be closely related to their structural and catalytic characteristics. Avocado sunblotch viroid (ASBVd), a member of the family Avsunviroidae, replicates via a symmetric RNA-dependant rolling-circle process, involving self-cleavage via hammerhead ribozymes. Consequently, it is assumed that ASBVd plus and minus strands adopt similar structures. Moreover, by computer analyses, a quasi-rod-like secondary structure has been predicted. Nevertheless, secondary and tertiary structures of both polarities of ASBVd remain unsolved. In this study, we analyzed the characteristic of each strand of ASBVd through biophysical analyses. We report that ASBVd transcripts of plus and minus polarities exhibit differences in electrophoretic mobility under native conditions and in thermal denaturation profiles. Subsequently, the secondary structures of plus and minus polarities of ASBVd were probed using the RNA-selective 2'-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension (SHAPE) method. The models obtained show that both polarities fold into different structures. Moreover, our results suggest the existence of a kissing-loop interaction within the minus strand that may play a role in in vivo viroid life cycle.
Keywords: Avocado sunblotch viroid; Ribozyme; RNA structure; SHAPE; Avsunviroidae Avocado sunblotch viroid; Ribozyme; RNA structure; SHAPE; Avsunviroidae
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Delan-Forino, C.; Deforges, J.; Benard, L.; Sargueil, B.; Maurel, M.-C.; Torchet, C. Structural Analyses of Avocado sunblotch viroid Reveal Differences in the Folding of Plus and Minus RNA Strands. Viruses 2014, 6, 489-506.

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