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Orchestrating the Selection and Packaging of Genomic RNA by Retroviruses: An Ensemble of Viral and Host Factors
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Viruses 2016, 8(10), 276; doi:10.3390/v8100276

Cross- and Co-Packaging of Retroviral RNAs and Their Consequences

1
Department of Microbiology & Immunology, College of Medicine and Health Sciences (CMHS), United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), P.O. Box 17666, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
2
Zayed Bin Sultan Center for Health Sciences, CMHS, UAEU, P.O. Box 17666, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
3
Department of Biochemistry, CMHS, UAEU, P.O. Box 17666, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Roland Marquet and Polly Roy
Received: 11 July 2016 / Revised: 3 October 2016 / Accepted: 3 October 2016 / Published: 11 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue RNA Packaging)
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Abstract

Retroviruses belong to the family Retroviridae and are ribonucleoprotein (RNP) particles that contain a dimeric RNA genome. Retroviral particle assembly is a complex process, and how the virus is able to recognize and specifically capture the genomic RNA (gRNA) among millions of other cellular and spliced retroviral RNAs has been the subject of extensive investigation over the last two decades. The specificity towards RNA packaging requires higher order interactions of the retroviral gRNA with the structural Gag proteins. Moreover, several retroviruses have been shown to have the ability to cross-/co-package gRNA from other retroviruses, despite little sequence homology. This review will compare the determinants of gRNA encapsidation among different retroviruses, followed by an examination of our current understanding of the interaction between diverse viral genomes and heterologous proteins, leading to their cross-/co-packaging. Retroviruses are well-known serious animal and human pathogens, and such a cross-/co-packaging phenomenon could result in the generation of novel viral variants with unknown pathogenic potential. At the same time, however, an enhanced understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in these specific interactions makes retroviruses an attractive target for anti-viral drugs, vaccines, and vectors for human gene therapy. View Full-Text
Keywords: retroviruses; RNA packaging; cross-/co-packaging; genomic RNA; psi; packaging signal; Gag proteins; nucleocapsid (NC); dimerization; recombination; viral variants retroviruses; RNA packaging; cross-/co-packaging; genomic RNA; psi; packaging signal; Gag proteins; nucleocapsid (NC); dimerization; recombination; viral variants
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Ali, L.M.; Rizvi, T.A.; Mustafa, F. Cross- and Co-Packaging of Retroviral RNAs and Their Consequences. Viruses 2016, 8, 276.

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