Multiple Reading Frames in DNA

Frank R. Gorga gorga at
Wed Apr 9 21:55:23 EST 1997

Tim Taylor wrote:
> I'm sure I've read in the dim and distant past that the DNA of
> some organisms includes sections which are transcribed multiple
> times starting from different bases (different reading frames).
> These therefore get translated into completely different
> proteins, so the genome is encoding multiple messages in the
> same bit of DNA.
> Can someone tell me what this phenomenon is called (if it has a
> special name), and give me an example (with a reference to a
> book, paper etc. if at all possible)?

A number of the papova viruses use alternate splicing of an RNA
transcript to generate mRNA's that have common sequences at their 5'
ends but differ after the splice site, thus they produce proteins with a
common amino terminal domains but different carboxy terminal domains.

Specifically, I am thinking about SV40 and polyomavirus. For further
information, take a look at a book titled "The Molecular Biology of
Tumor Viruses" by John Tooze. Published in 1973, it is an "oldie but

I hope that this helps,

--- FRG 


Frank R. Gorga, Ph.D.
Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Duquesne University
Pittsburgh, PA 15282
412-396-5858 / 412-396-5683 (fax)
gorga at

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