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Rev Med Virol. 2010 Nov;20(6):380-91. doi: 10.1002/rmv.666.

Structure of influenza virus ribonucleoprotein complexes and their packaging into virions.

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Department of Special Pathogens, International Research Center for Infectious Diseases, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


The influenza A virus genome consists of eight segmented, single-stranded, negative-sense RNAs. Each viral RNA (vRNA) segment forms a ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex together with NPs and a polymerase complex, which is a fundamental unit for transcription and replication of the viral genome. Although the exact structure of the intact RNP remains poorly understood, recent electron microscopic studies have revealed certain structural characteristics of the RNP. This review focuses on the findings of these various electron microscopic analyses of RNPs extracted from virions and RNPs inside virions. Based on the morphological and structural observations, we present the architecture of RNPs within a virion and discuss the genome packaging mechanism by which the vRNA segments are incorporated into virions.

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