The human cytomegalovirus UL76 gene regulates the level of expression of the UL77 gene.
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) can be reactivated under immunosuppressive conditions causing several fatal pneumonitis, hepatitis, retinitis, and gastrointestinal diseases. HCMV also causes deafness and mental retardation in neonates when primary infection has occurred during pregnancy. In the genome of HCMV at least 194 known open reading frames (ORFs) have been predicted, and approximately one-quarter, or 41 ORFs, are required for viral replication in cell culture. In contrast, the majority of the predicted ORFs are nonessential for viral replication in cell culture. However, it is also possible that these ORFs are required for the efficient viral replication in the host. The UL77 gene of HCMV is essential for viral replication and has a role in viral DNA packaging. The function of the upstream UL76 gene in the HCMV-infected cells is not understood. UL76 and UL77 are cistons on the same viral mRNA and a conventional 5' mRNA for UL77 has not been detected. The vast majority of eukaryotic mRNAs are monocistronic, i.e., they encode only a single protein.
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