RNA viruses represent a large and important group of pathogens that infect a broad range of hosts. Segmented RNA viruses are a subclass of this group that encode their genomes in two or more molecules and package all of their RNA segments in a single virus particle. These divided genomes come in different forms, including double-stranded RNA, coding-sense single-stranded RNA, and noncoding single-stranded RNA. Genera that possess these genome types include, respectively, Orbivirus
(e.g., Bluetongue virus), Dianthovirus
(e.g., Red clover necrotic mosaic virus) and Alphainfluenzavirus
(e.g., Influenza A virus). Despite their distinct genomic features and diverse host ranges (i.e., animals, plants, and humans, respectively) each of these viruses uses trans
-acting RNA–RNA interactions (tRRIs) to facilitate co-packaging of their segmented genome. The tRRIs occur between different viral genome segments and direct the selective packaging of a complete genome complement. Here we explore the current state of understanding of tRRI-mediated co-packaging in the abovementioned viruses and examine other known and potential functions for this class of RNA–RNA interaction.
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