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Researchers find a new gene expression mechanism of PRRS virus
Date:5/12/2014

MANHATTAN, Kan. A collaborative study involving Kansas State University researchers has discovered a new gene expression mechanism in porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, or PRRS, virus an important swine pathogen that costs the U.S. pork industry more than $600 million a year. The discovery provides a new avenue for scientists to explore strategies to control and prevent the disease.

Ying Fang, Ph.D., associate professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology at Kansas State University, led a study that looked at the unique gene expression mechanism of the PRRS virus. She and colleagues found a new protein in the virus, nsp2TF, was generated through novel ribosomal frameshifting signals.

The research recently appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, or PNAS, study, "Transactivation of programmed ribosomal frameshifting by a viral protein."

Fang conducted this study with her European collaborators, including Eric Snijder and his team members at Leiden University Medical Center in The Netherlands, and Andrew Firth, Ian Brierley and Brierley's lab members at the University of Cambridge. Yanhua Li, Fang's doctoral student in pathobiology, China, made important contributions to this study. Zhi Sun, Fang's former doctoral student, and Longchao Zhu, visiting scholars in diagnostic medicine and pathobiology in Fang's lab, also were involved in the study.

The study builds on a 2012 PNAS study Fang and her European collaborators conducted while she was at South Dakota State University. In it, researchers identified the nsp2TF protein in the PRRS virus. The protein is expressed through a new gene expression mechanism called -2 ribosomal frameshifting.

"Frameshifting occurs when a ribosome encounters a 'slippery' sequence and downstream signal in messenger RNA," Fang said. "This causes the ribosome to shift two nucleotides backward, which results in all the genetic codons downstre
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Contact: Ying Fang
yfang@k-state.edu
785-532-4452
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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