In RSV infected cells and in vitro, the trc promoter sequence (left) can be modified by back-priming. The RNA folds into a secondary structure, with nucleotides 1 and 2 base-pairing with nucleotides 14 and 13, and one to three nucleotides (red) are added to the RNA 3´ end by the viral polymerase (orange oval). Back-priming can also occur on the le promoter sequence in vitro, but does not occur in infected cells.

Understanding respiratory syncytial virus genome synthesis

Factors affecting de novo RNA synthesis and back-priming by the respiratory syncytial virus polymerase Read the full article on ScienceDirect. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a paramyxovirus, one of the non-segmented negative strand RNA viruses. The long-term goal of our research is to understand how RSV mRNA, antigenome and genome synthesis are regulated. We previously…

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How geminiviruses suppress host antiviral defense

Geminivirus AL2 protein induces expression of, and interacts with, a calmodulin-like gene, an endogenous regulator of gene silencing Read the full article on ScienceDirect. Geminiviruses are plant viruses that cause serious destruction in almost every staple food crop worldwide. Damage caused by geminivirus infections can result in complete crop loss, severely impacting the economic livelihoods…

(A) Photograph of a fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) queen surrounded by workers and immature stages (larvae and pupae). (B) Photograph of a midden pile in a SINV-3-infected colony composed of thousands of dead worker and larval ants.  Note the immature stages (arrows).  Fire ant colonies remove dead or dying colony members from the nest area, which accumulate with time.  (C) Electron micrograph of brood collected from SINV-3-infected midden piles.

Virus changes fire ant behaviour to cause mortality

Solenopsis invicta virus 3: Pathogenesis and stage specificity in red imported fire ants Read the full article on ScienceDirect. Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3) is an unclassified plus-strand RNA virus with features suggesting a distant relationship to members of the family Caliciviridae. The virus is specific for the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren.…

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Cell culture systems for hepatitis research

Production and Characterization of High-Titer Serum-Free Cell Culture Grown Hepatitis C Virus Particles of Genotype 1-6 Read the full article for free on ScienceDirect. There is a need for a vaccine against hepatitis C virus (HCV), a major human pathogen. HCV infects >150 million people worldwide, and 3‐4 million new infections occur each year. Recent…

Structures and receptor binding characteristics of H5 HAs described in this study.

Receptor binding in bird flu

Enhanced human receptor binding by H5 haemagglutinins Read the full article on ScienceDirect. Virologists and public health officials share an interest in the mechanism of influenza virus cross-species transmission because of the potential of newly introduced viruses to cause pandemics. Analyses of naturally and experimentally transmitted viruses indicate roles for several gene products in the…

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The Virologist’s Bookshelf – Part 4

In this continuing series of blog posts, the Editor-in-Chief of Virology, Michael Emerman, recommends books chosen for their descriptions of the roles of viruses and viral disease in the broader contexts of human health, society and history. This is part 4, with books about Smallpox and about Prions. Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of…

A recombinant form of the gp120 protein.  The two parental sequences are shown in green and gold, with a pair of coevolving residues in blue.  The recombination breakpoint (where green and gold meet) is rarely found so that it splits up the coevolved residues.

Analyzing breakpoints to understand HIV-1 evolution

Constraints from protein structure and intra-molecular coevolution influence the fitness of HIV-1 recombinants Read the full article on ScienceDirect. HIV-1 infections remain a major cause of human disease. The main reason for our inability to provide a cure is the virus’s very high rate of evolution. This leads to several negative consequences, including the virus’s…