Woodchuck hepatitis virus contains a tripartite posttranscriptional regulatory element

John E. Donello, Jonathan E. Loeb, Thomas J. Hope*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

284 Scopus citations


The hepatitis B virus posttranscriptional regulatory element (HBVPRE) is a cis-acting RNA element that partially overlaps with enhancer I and is required for the cytoplasmic accumulation of HBV surface RNAs. We find that the closely related woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV), which has been shown to lack a functional enhancer I, also contains a posttranscriptional regulatory element (WPRE). Deletion analysis suggests that the WPRE consists of three independent subelements. Comparison of the bipartite HBVPRE and tripartite WPRE activities reveals that the tripartite WPRE is two to three times more active than the bipartite HBVPRE. Mutation of a single WPRE subelement decreases WPRE activity to the level of the HBVPRE. Bipartite and tripartite chimeras of the WPRE and HBVPRE possess activities which suggest that elements containing three subelements are posttranscriptionally stronger than those containing two. These data demonstrate that the posttranscriptional regulatory element is conserved within the mammalian hepadnaviruses and that its strength is determined by the number of subelements within the RNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5085-5092
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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