For 30 years it was thought the alphavirus 6K gene encoded a single 6 kDa protein. However, through a bioinformatics search 10 years ago, it was discovered that there is a frameshifting event and two proteins, 6K and transframe (TF), are translated from the 6K gene. Thus, many functions attributed to the 6K protein needed reevaluation to determine if they properly belong to 6K, TF, or both proteins. In this mini-review, we reevaluate the past research on 6K and put those results in context where there are two proteins, 6K and TF, instead of one. Additionally, we discuss the most cogent outstanding questions for 6K and TF research, including their collective importance in alphavirus budding and their potential importance in disease based on the latest virulence data.
Disentangling the Frames, the State of Research on the Alphavirus 6K and TF Proteins.
Ramsey J, Mukhopadhyay S
Viruses. 2017 Aug 18;9(8). pii: E228. doi: 10.3390/v9080228. Review.