Host-like RNA Elements Regulate Virus Translation.

Host-like RNA Elements Regulate Virus Translation.

Publication date: Mar 20, 2024

Viruses are obligate, intracellular parasites that co-opt host cell machineries for propagation. Critical among these machineries are those that translate RNA into protein and their mechanisms of control. Most regulatory mechanisms effectuate their activity by targeting sequence or structural features at the RNA termini, i. e., at the 5′ or 3′ ends, including the untranslated regions (UTRs). Translation of most eukaryotic mRNAs is initiated by 5′ cap-dependent scanning. In contrast, many viruses initiate translation at internal RNA regions at internal ribosome entry sites (IRESs). Eukaryotic mRNAs often contain upstream open reading frames (uORFs) that permit condition-dependent control of downstream major ORFs. To offset genome compression and increase coding capacity, some viruses take advantage of out-of-frame overlapping uORFs (oORFs). Lacking the essential machinery of protein synthesis, for example, ribosomes and other translation factors, all viruses utilize the host apparatus to generate virus protein. In addition, some viruses exhibit RNA elements that bind host regulatory factors that are not essential components of the translation machinery. SARS-CoV-2 is a paradigm example of a virus taking advantage of multiple features of eukaryotic host translation control: the virus mimics the established human GAIT regulatory element and co-opts four host aminoacyl tRNA synthetases to form a stimulatory binding complex. Utilizing discontinuous transcription, the elements are present and identical in all SARS-CoV-2 subgenomic RNAs (and the genomic RNA). Thus, the virus exhibits a post-transcriptional regulon that improves upon analogous eukaryotic regulons, in which a family of functionally related mRNA targets contain elements that are structurally similar but lacking sequence identity. This “thrifty” virus strategy can be exploited against the virus since targeting the element can suppress the expression of all subgenomic RNAs as well as the genomic RNA. Other 3′ end viral elements include 3′-cap-independent translation elements (3′-CITEs) and 3′-tRNA-like structures. Elucidation of virus translation control elements, their binding proteins, and their mechanisms can lead to novel therapeutic approaches to reduce virus replication and pathogenicity.

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Concepts Keywords
Genome 5′ Untranslated Regions
Host 5′ Untranslated Regions
Parasites Humans
Therapeutic Protein Biosynthesis
Viral Ribosomes
RNA element
RNA, Messenger
RNA, Messenger
RNA, Transfer
RNA, Transfer
RNA, Viral
RNA, Viral
SARS-CoV-2
translation control
untranslated region
Viral Proteins
Viral Proteins
virus
virus-host interaction
Viruses

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