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Virus Res. 1999 Aug;62(2):129-47.

Paradoxes of the replication of picornaviral genomes.

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Institute of Poliomyelitis and Viral Encephalitidis, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Moscow Region, Russia.


A wealth of experimental data on the mechanism of the picornavirus genome replication has accumulated. Not infrequently, however, conclusions derived from these data appear to contradict each other. On the one hand, initiation of a complementary RNA strand can be demonstrated to occur in a solution containing only the poliovirus RNA polymerase, VPg, uridine triphosphate, poly(A) template and appropriate ions. On the other hand, convincing experiments suggest that efficient initiation of a viral complementary RNA strand requires complex cis-acting signals on the viral RNA template, additional viral and possibly cellular proteins as well as a membrane-containing environment. On the one hand, there is evidence that the viral RNA, in order to be replicated, should first be translated, but on the other hand, the viral RNA polymerase appears to be unable to overcome the ribosome barrier. Possible solutions for these and several other similar paradoxes are discussed, along with less contradictory results on the properties of the picornaviral replicative proteins. Recent results suggesting that recombination and other rearrangements of the viral RNA genomes may be accomplished not only by the replicative template switching but also by nonreplicative mechanisms are also briefly reviewed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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