About this Research Topic
RNA viruses are diverse, abundant and widespread in nature. The vast number of RNA viruses infect all forms of life, from single-cell microorganisms to higher mammals, including some important pathogens that seriously threaten human health or cause great economic losses to animal and plant production. Different types of RNA viruses differ remarkably in virion morphology and components. Although all RNA viruses utilize RNA as their genetic material, their RNA genomes are also highly variable in structure and organization, including those segmented or non-segmented, double-stranded or single-stranded (positive sense, negative sense or ambisense). For RNA viruses, a distinctive feature different from their host is that they use RNA as templates to make their genomic copies and produce messenger RNAs. Understanding the distinct RNA synthesis processes is important for discovering novel therapeutic targets for preventing and treating viral diseases.
Due to the lack of the machinery for RNA template-directed RNA synthesis in host cells, RNA viruses always encode their own RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp). During RNA virus infection, a set of RNA products, including the genome, the antigenome that serves as a template for the synthesis of the genome and mRNAs are generated. Viral RdRp is the key player in the synthesis of all these RNAs. The process usually requires forming a transcription and replication complex (RTC) containing viral auxiliary proteins and factors from the host cell. The number of proteins recruited in the RTC differs among virus families. Nowadays, advanced research techniques used in virological researches have greatly promoted the identification of RTC components and molecular interactions involved in the RNA genome replication and transcription. It is also possible to explore RNA processing and modification and their roles in regulating virus replication.
This Research Topic aims to present our up-to-date understanding of RNA virus genome replication and transcription mechanisms. We welcome submissions of original research articles, reviews and comments on viral RNA synthesis that include but are not limited to the following topics:
• Replication and transcription machinery
• Host factors involved in viral RNA synthesis
• RNA-RNA, RNA-protein and protein-protein interactions
• Processing and epigenetic modification of viral RNA
• Antivirals targeting viral RNA synthesis
Keywords: RNA virus, transcription and replication complex, host factors, molecular interactions, RNA epigenetic modification, antivirals
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