How SARS-CoV-2 Evades And Suppresses The Immune System (Part 3)

A complex genome and replication strategy offers many new opportunities to develop drugs that prevent and treat SARS-CoV-2 infections.

The SARS-CoV-2 genome is one of the largest of any RNA virus. On either side of the sequence are 5 prime and 3 prime untranslated regions, necessary for making new copies of the virus genome and initiating messenger RNA synthesis. The untranslated regions also contribute to control of viral replication and messenger RNA synthesis and translation.

SARS-CoV-2 encodes 30 proteins. A set of 16 proteins, designated as the nonstructural genes NSP1-16, are encoded by the 5 prime two-thirds of the genome. Upon infection, the full-length viral RNA—which closely resembles a cellular messenger RNA with a 5 prime cap and a polyadenylate tail—serves as the template for the synthesis of these 16 proteins. Together these early proteins create the intracellular conditions for replication and transcription.

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Originally published on Forbes (August 16, 2021)

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.