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Coronavirus using host cells for replication

Date: 29 April 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Researchers have discovered the mechanism through which SARS virus infects cells and produces viral proteins for replication.

 

Background

They however say that SARS-CoV (that causes SARS) and SARS-CoV-2 (causing Covid-19) do not use this procedure.

 

Details

  • Coronaviruses are the reason for causing cold infections in humans. The SARS viruses were the first ones to cause severe pneumonia in infected people.

  • Researchers studied the RNA genomes in normal coronaviruses with those of SARS virus and identified a “SARS-unique domain” (SUD) in the latter.

  • These genomic regions along with their proteins may be the reason for extraordinary pathogenicity of SARS and SARS-CoV-2 coronaviruses.

  • The SUD proteins present in these two viruses have the ability to interact with a human protein called Paip-1, which is one of the first steps of protein synthesis. 

  • SUD binds to the ribosomes along with Paip-1 that enhances production of proteins in both the host cells and the virus.

  • A viral protein called Nsp1selectively destroys the messenger RNA molecules in cells infected with SARS and SARS-CoV-2 viruses.

  • This destruction causes infected cells to produce viral proteins instead of normal proteins, helping in replication process.

  • Researchers used X-ray crystallography to determine the structure of the complex protein formed by combination of SUD and Paip-1.

 

Significance

Such experiments help to understand key structure of virus that helps it to change key functions of the cell for their own benefit.