About this Research Topic
The diversity and versatility of RNA structural motifs is widely illustrated in RNA viruses. These viruses, with members such as hepatitis C virus, Dengue virus, or hantavirus, among many others, represent a current threat to human health. Also of great importance is the impact on animal and plant production, affecting many economic activities worldwide. In all cases, the viral genome comprises a very low number of genes. Hence, these viruses usurp the host cell machinery and at the same time, they exploit different mechanisms to evade the antiviral response.
Many viruses have evolved to meet this challenge by using their small genomic RNA in a multifunctional way: the RNA contains both the encoded genetic information and the structural signals that are required to interact with and manipulate host cell machinery. The impact of these structural motifs is highlighted by the critical functions contained in structured RNA elements, including the recruitment and manipulation of host cell factors, and the regulation of processes necessary for viral replication.
The biological relevance of these RNA motifs is evident in their high degree of structural conservation. In this research topic we welcome submissions of experts in the field to review a variety of functionally critical RNA structural features found in RNA viruses. The examples proposed in this Research Topic will allow the reader to gain a foundation of knowledge in regard to the diversity of structural motifs controlling RNA virus multiplication, as well as the current methods being used to study these RNAs. We encourage authors to comment not only on the current understanding of the relevant motif, but also on the open questions in knowledge that are likely to drive further experiments aimed at understanding these important RNA viruses.
Keywords: RNA virus, regulatory motifs, RNA structure, RNA-binding proteins, emerging diseases
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