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Review

Mutation Rates, Mutation Frequencies, and Proofreading-Repair Activities in RNA Virus Genetics

1
Centro de Biología Molecular “Severo Ochoa” (CSIC-UAM), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Campus de Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain
2
Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBERehd), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, 28029 Madrid, Spain
3
Department of Clinical Microbiology, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria-Fundación Jiménez Díaz University Hospital, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (IIS-FJD, UAM), Av. Reyes Católicos 2, 28040 Madrid, Spain
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Miguel Angel Martinez
Viruses 2021, 13(9), 1882; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13091882
Received: 30 July 2021 / Revised: 6 September 2021 / Accepted: 17 September 2021 / Published: 21 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Replication Complexes)
The error rate displayed during template copying to produce viral RNA progeny is a biologically relevant parameter of the replication complexes of viruses. It has consequences for virus–host interactions, and it represents the first step in the diversification of viruses in nature. Measurements during infections and with purified viral polymerases indicate that mutation rates for RNA viruses are in the range of 10−3 to 10−6 copying errors per nucleotide incorporated into the nascent RNA product. Although viruses are thought to exploit high error rates for adaptation to changing environments, some of them possess misincorporation correcting activities. One of them is a proofreading-repair 3′ to 5′ exonuclease present in coronaviruses that may decrease the error rate during replication. Here we review experimental evidence and models of information maintenance that explain why elevated mutation rates have been preserved during the evolution of RNA (and some DNA) viruses. The models also offer an interpretation of why error correction mechanisms have evolved to maintain the stability of genetic information carried out by large viral RNA genomes such as the coronaviruses. View Full-Text
Keywords: RNA virus; virus diversification; quasispecies; error catastrophe; exonuclease; SARS-CoV-2 RNA virus; virus diversification; quasispecies; error catastrophe; exonuclease; SARS-CoV-2
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MDPI and ACS Style

Domingo, E.; García-Crespo, C.; Lobo-Vega, R.; Perales, C. Mutation Rates, Mutation Frequencies, and Proofreading-Repair Activities in RNA Virus Genetics. Viruses 2021, 13, 1882. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13091882

AMA Style

Domingo E, García-Crespo C, Lobo-Vega R, Perales C. Mutation Rates, Mutation Frequencies, and Proofreading-Repair Activities in RNA Virus Genetics. Viruses. 2021; 13(9):1882. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13091882

Chicago/Turabian Style

Domingo, Esteban, Carlos García-Crespo, Rebeca Lobo-Vega, and Celia Perales. 2021. "Mutation Rates, Mutation Frequencies, and Proofreading-Repair Activities in RNA Virus Genetics" Viruses 13, no. 9: 1882. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13091882

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