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Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2009;90:313-67. doi: 10.1016/S1877-1173(09)90009-6. Epub 2009 Oct 27.

Viral strategies to subvert the mammalian translation machinery.

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  • 1Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom.


Viruses do not carry their own protein biosynthesis machinery and the translation of viral proteins therefore requires that the virus usurps the machinery of the host cell. To allow optimal translation of viral proteins at the expense of cellular proteins, virus families have evolved a variety of methods to repress the host translation machinery, while allowing effective viral protein synthesis. Many viruses use noncanonical mechanisms that permit translation of their own RNAs under these conditions. Viruses have also developed mechanisms to evade host innate immune responses that would repress translation under conditions of viral infection, in particular PKR activation in response to double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). Importantly, the study of viral translation mechanisms has enormously enhanced our understanding of many aspects of the cellular protein biosynthesis pathway and its components. A number of unusual mechanisms of translation initiation that were first discovered in viruses have since been observed in cellular mRNAs, and it has become apparent that a diverse range of translation mechanisms operates in eukaryotes, allowing subtle regulation of this essential process.

Copyright © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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