Author(s): Decroly E, Ferron F, Lescar J, Canard B
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Abstract In the eukaryotic cell, capping of mRNA 5' ends is an essential structural modification that allows efficient mRNA translation, directs pre-mRNA splicing and mRNA export from the nucleus, limits mRNA degradation by cellular 5'-3' exonucleases and allows recognition of foreign RNAs (including viral transcripts) as 'non-self'. However, viruses have evolved mechanisms to protect their RNA 5' ends with either a covalently attached peptide or a cap moiety (7-methyl-Gppp, in which p is a phosphate group) that is indistinguishable from cellular mRNA cap structures. Viral RNA caps can be stolen from cellular mRNAs or synthesized using either a host- or virus-encoded capping apparatus, and these capping assemblies exhibit a wide diversity in organization, structure and mechanism. Here, we review the strategies used by viruses of eukaryotic cells to produce functional mRNA 5'-caps and escape innate immunity.
This article was published in Nat Rev Microbiol
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