May 19, 2014

A unifying structural and functional model of the coronavirus replication organelle: tracking down RNA synthesis

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Johannes KohlMontserrat Bárcena


Zoonotic coronavirus (CoV) infections, like those responsible for the current SARS-CoV-2 epidemic, cause grave international public health concern. In infected cells, the CoV RNA-synthesizing machinery associates with modified endoplasmic reticulum membranes that are transformed into the viral replication organelle (RO). While double-membrane vesicles (DMVs) appear to be a pan -coronavirus RO element, studies to date describe an assortment of additional coronavirus-induced membrane structures. Despite much speculation, it remains unclear which RO element(s) accommodate viral RNA synthesis. Here we provide detailed 2D and 3D analyses of CoV ROs and show that diverse CoVs essentially induce the same membrane modifications, including the small open double-membrane spherules (DMSs) previously thought to be restricted to gamma- and delta-CoV infections and proposed as sites of replication. Metabolic labelling of newly-synthesized viral RNA followed by quantitative EM autoradiography revealed abundant viral RNA synthesis associated with DMVs in cells infected with the beta-CoVs MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, and the gamma-CoV infectious bronchitis virus. RNA synthesis could not be linked to DMSs or any other cellular or virus-induced structu...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Plants, Transgenic
Fluorescent stain
Biological Tissue
Isotope Labeling
Subcellular Structure

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