Epigenetic Landscape during Coronavirus Infection

Alexandra Schäfer, Ralph Baric


Coronaviruses (CoV) comprise a large group of emerging human and animal pathogens, including the highly pathogenic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) strains. The molecular mechanisms regulating emerging coronavirus pathogenesis are complex and include virus-host interactions associated with entry, replication, egress and innate immune control. Epigenetics research investigates the genetic and non-genetic factors that regulate phenotypic variation, usually caused by external and environmental factors that alter host expression patterns and performance without any change in the underlying genotype. Epigenetic modifications, such as histone modifications, DNA methylation, chromatin remodeling, and non-coding RNAs, function as important regulators that remodel host chromatin, altering host expression patterns and networks in a highly flexible manner. For most of the past two and a half decades, research has focused on the molecular mechanisms by which RNA viruses antagonize the signaling and sensing components that regulate induction of the host innate immune and antiviral defense programs upon infection. More recently, a growing body of evidence sup...Continue Reading


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