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J Virol. 1991 August; 65(8): 4204–4210.
PMCID: PMC248856

Intragenic suppression of a deletion mutation of the nonstructural gene of an influenza A virus.


The influenza A/Alaska/77 (H3N2) virus mutant 143-1 is temperature sensitive (ts) due to a spontaneous in-frame 36-nucleotide deletion in the nonstructural (NS) gene segment, which leads to a 12-amino-acid deletion in the NS1 protein. In addition, it has a small-plaque phenotype on MDCK cell monolayers. However, phenotypically revertant (i.e., ts+) viruses were isolated readily following replication of the 143-1 virus both in vitro and in vivo. In order to determine the genetic mechanism by which escape from the ts phenotype occurred, we performed segregational analysis and found that an intrasegmental suppressor mutation caused the loss of the ts phenotype. Nucleotide sequence analysis revealed the presence of an intragenic mutation in each of the ts+ phenotypic revertant viruses, involving a substitution of valine for alanine at amino acid 23 of the NS1 protein. This mutation resulted in acquisition of the ts+ phenotype and also in the large-plaque phenotype on MDCK cells, characteristic of the wild-type A/Alaska/77 parent virus. This amino acid substitution is predicted to generate an area of alpha helix in the secondary structure of the amino-terminal portion of the NS1 protein of the revertant viruses which may compensate for loss of an alpha-helical region due to the deletion of amino acids 66 to 77 in the NS1 protein of the 143-1 virus.

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Selected References

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