Structure and Replication of the Alphavirus Genome

  • Ellen G. Strauss
  • James H. Strauss
Part of the The Viruses book series (VIRS)


In the last few years, our knowledge of the molecular biology of viruses has been greatly expanded by the technology of nucleic acid sequencing. Determination of the complete sequence of virus genomes coupled with mapping of the virus-encoded proteins on those genomes has resulted in a wealth of information about the structure of the genome, the nature of the encoded proteins, the translation strategy used by the virus, and the nature of proteolytic processing or other modification events involved in maturation of viral proteins. Comparison of the nucleic acid and deduced amino acid sequences of related viruses can reveal conserved domains, suggesting that these regions play key roles in either virus replication or morphology. Recombinant DNA technology makes it possible to design experiments to test the function of such domains directly; in particular, manipulation of viral genomes may lead to a more directed approach to vaccine production than the empirical strategies used heretofore. In a number of cases, the single base changes (and resulting amino acid substitutions) responsible for the temperature-sensitive phenotype of certain mutants have been determined. Nucleic acid sequencing is also being used to locate immunological epitopes as well as protein domains involved in virulence and specific tissue tropisms.


Capsid Protein Tobacco Mosaic Virus Nonstructural Protein Semliki Forest Virus Sindbis Virus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ellen G. Strauss
    • 1
  • James H. Strauss
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of BiologyCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA

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