Assembly of Full-Length cDNA, and Heterologous Expression, of Nudaurelia β Virus RNA

Luke, G.J. (2001) Assembly of Full-Length cDNA, and Heterologous Expression, of Nudaurelia β Virus RNA. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




Nudaurelia beta virus (NβV) is a monopartite genome virus belonging to the family Tetraviridae. Its host range has been found to be limited to a single insect order, the Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies). The single-stranded positive-sense RNA genome consists of 6625 nucleotides containing two open reading frames (ORFs). The 5' proximal ORF of 5778 nucleotides encodes a protein of 215 kDa containing three functional domains characteristic of RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. The 3' proximal ORF, of 1836 nucleotides, encodes the 66 kDa capsid precursor protein and overlaps the replicase gene by more than 99% and is in the +1 reading frame relative to the replicase reading frame. The full-length cDNA construct of the NβV genome was assembled using a homologous overlapping PCR linking method. The starting material consisted of seven overlapping pieces that were constructed for sequencing. Due to the degradation of the full-length RNA obtained from virus extracted from field-collected Nudaurelia cytherea capensis larvae other alternative methods needed to be applied. Sub-cloning using restriction enzyme sites also required an alternative method being used, due to the abundance of restriction sites of the same type in the NβV genome. This led to the use of a method similar to "DNA Shuffling" where overlapping pieces were connected using a modified PCR protocol. After the construction of the NβV genome, the full-length PCR product was cloned and checked for large insertion and deletions that could have resulted from the PCR amplification. The heterologous expression of the NβV capsid protein linked to a fusion protein (Glutathione S-transferase) in E.coli, confirmed the authenticity of the prescribed capsid gene ORF. The expression showed that the virus protein was subjected to protease digestion in DH5α E.coli, suggesting that the protein was insoluble in the cell cytoplasm. The capsid gene expression in a modified E.coli strain, Epicurian Coli BL21-CodonPlus (DE3)-RIL, resulted in high levels of the correct molecular weight protein with minimal degradation. The modified strain was designed for over-expression of eukaryotic protein with lowered protease activity. The above results have opened the way for further research that would yield valuable insight into the molecular biology and replication strategy of the NβV in cell cultures.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information:M.Sc. (Biochemistry & Microbiology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Nudaurelia beta virus, NβV, RNA, viruses, DNA
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Biochemistry, Microbiology & Biotechnology
Supervisors:Hendry, Don (Prof.)
ID Code:767
Deposited By: Rhodes Library Archive Administrator
Deposited On:02 Aug 2007
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:19
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