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  • 1 Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungária krt. 21, H-1143 Budapest, Hungary
  • 2 Veterinary Diagnostic Directorate National Food Chain Safety Office, Budapest, Hungary
  • 3 Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala, Sweden
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A short alternative open reading frame named ORF7a has recently been discovered within the nucleocapsid gene of the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) genome. Proteins (7ap) translated from the ORF7a of two divergent strains — a type I and a type II — are able to completely reduce the motility of nucleic acids at relatively high molar charge ratios in gel retardation assays indicating strong dsDNA- and ssRNA-binding capability. Conserved RNA- and DNA-binding properties suggest that nucleic acid binding is a functional property of the divergent 7aps, and not an arbitrary consequence of their net positive charge. Sera from Hu7ap-immunised pigs and mice did not react with Hu7ap or Hu7ap-GFP; however, antinuclear antibodies were detected in the sera of the immunised animals, suggesting an ability of Hu7ap to interact with or mimic autoantigenic macromolecules.

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