Sequence motifs within the non-structural protein NS5 or NS5B of the members of the family Flaviviridae suggest that this protein is the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. This protein has now been expressed in various in vitro systems and used in polymerase assays. To understand the role of the RNA polymerase in RNA replication, this review will examine not only the polymerase protein but also the other proteins in the RNA replication complex. To date, several groups have investigated the interaction of these proteins both in vitro and in vivo and also the interaction of these proteins with the RNA signals at the 3' terminus of the RNA. Infectious clones and replicons containing the non-structural proteins have now been generated and these will be useful tools in understanding the processes of initiation and elongation of both positive and negative RNA synthesis.
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