Earlier than immediate-early

The definition of a virus as a DNA or RNA virus, based on its genetic material, is now on shaky ground thanks to the findings of Bresnahan and Shenk in the 30 June Science. Using a gene array, they find that particles of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), a large DNA virus, contain four different mRNAs (Science 2000, 288:2373-2376). The mRNAs are derived from one immediate-early gene, two early genes and one late gene, but translation from at least one of the packaged mRNAs peaks before there is dete

The Scientist Staff
Jul 5, 2000

The definition of a virus as a DNA or RNA virus, based on its genetic material, is now on shaky ground thanks to the findings of Bresnahan and Shenk in the 30 June Science. Using a gene array, they find that particles of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), a large DNA virus, contain four different mRNAs (Science 2000, 288:2373-2376). The mRNAs are derived from one immediate-early gene, two early genes and one late gene, but translation from at least one of the packaged mRNAs peaks before there is detectable translation from the most abundant immediate-early mRNA. The functions of the four mRNAs is unknown, but the protein product from one of the mRNAs is directed to the Golgi network. This co-translational sorting would not occur if the mRNA species was replaced in the virion by a protein.

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?