An unexpected link between coronavirus replication and protein secretion in infected cells

Jun 13, 2008

Coronavirus replication is critically linked to two factors within the early secretory pathway, according to new findings by a team of Dutch researchers that are published June 13th in the open-access journal PLoS Pathogens.

Coronaviruses, a group including the well-known SARS virus, are the causative agents of many respiratory and enteric infections in humans and animals. As with all viruses, virtually every step of their infection cycle depends on host cellular factors.

As the first, most crucial step after their penetration into cells, coronaviruses assemble huge RNA replication "factory" complexes in association with characteristic, newly induced double membrane vesicles. The cellular pathways hijacked by these plus-strand RNA viruses to create these "factories" have thus far not been elucidated.

The researchers, led by Cornelis A. M. de Haan, showed that RNA replication of mouse hepatitis coronavirus (MHV) was inhibited by a drug — brefeldin A — that disrupts the central station in the cell's secretory pathway, the Golgi complex. Consistently, depletion of both the cellular target of brefeldin A, a factor called GBF1, and its downstream target, ARF1, was also shown to negatively affect coronavirus infection.

The researchers conclude that "an intimate association exists between the early secretory pathway and MHV replication." They speculate that, while GBF1 and ARF1 are not involved in the formation of the viral replication structures, they probably play a key role in their maturation or functioning. As this work was limited to the mouse hepatitis coronavirus, an interesting next step would be to study the importance of GBF1 and ARF1 in the replication of other coronaviruses.

Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: Study of gene mutations in aplastic anemia may help optimize treament

Related Stories

New research aims to shut down viral assembly line

Jan 11, 2011

Under the electron microscope, a coronavirus may resemble a spiny sea urchin or appear crownlike, (the shape from which this family of pathogens takes its name). Previously recognized as the second leading ...

Scientists identify antivirus system

Nov 17, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Viruses have led scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis to the discovery of a security system in host cells.

Discovery may help defang viruses

Aug 28, 2007

Researchers may be able to tinker with a single amino acid of an enzyme that helps viruses multiply to render them harmless, according to molecular biologists who say the discovery could pave the way for a fast and cheap ...

Recommended for you

A high-fat diet may alleviate mitochondrial disease

Jun 30, 2015

Mice that have a genetic version of mitochondrial disease can easily be mistaken for much older animals by the time they are nine months old: they have thinning grey hair, osteoporosis, poor hearing, infertility, ...

Cheek muscles hold up better than leg muscles in space

Jun 30, 2015

It is well known that muscles need resistance (gravity) to maintain optimal health, and when they do not have this resistance, they deteriorate. A new report published in the July 2015 issue of The FASEB Journal, however, sugges ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.