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Virus Res. 2004 Apr;101(1):67-81.

Emerging themes in rotavirus cell entry, genome organization, transcription and replication.

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Program in Structural and Computational Biology and Molecular Biophysics, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Rotaviruses, causative agents of gastroenteritis in young animals and humans, are large icosahedral viruses with a complex architecture. The double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) genome composed of 11 segments, which codes for 6 structural and 6 non-structural proteins, is enclosed within three concentric capsid layers. In addition to facilitating host-specific interactions, the design of the capsid architecture in rotaviruses as in other dsRNA viruses should also be conducive to the requirement of transcribing the enclosed genome segments repeatedly and simultaneously within the capsid interior. Several non-structural proteins facilitate the subsequent processes of genome replication and packaging. Electron cryomicroscopy studies of intact virions, recombinant virus-like particles, functional complexes, together with recent X-ray crystallographic studies on rotavirus proteins have provided structural insights into the capsid architecture, genome organization, antibody interaction, cell entry, trypsin-enhanced infectivity, endogenous transcription and replication. These studies underscore contrasting features and unifying themes between rotavirus and other dsRNA viruses.

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