How Viruses Outsmart Their Host Cells
No host, no viruses. While it is true that viruses are capable of spreading by surviving outside a host, they need a host for replication. Viruses lack the complex apparatus necessary for the transcription of genetic information and its subsequent translation into new virus components. This is why all viruses need access to a host cell’s molecular infrastructure.
Previous research had shown that the lambda phage introduced its own genetic information into that of its host, inserting it at a specific site in the host genome. RNA polymerase would normally stop reading this information at the end of the bacterial gene and would ignore any viral genes inserted behind it. The virus uses a trick that prevents the RNA polymerase from terminating the transcription process: it introduces ‘lambda-N’ (λN).
A Berlin-based team of researchers has now been able to visualize the 3D structure of the RNA polymerase-λN-complex using high-resolution imaging, enabling them to provide a detailed explanation of this ‘viral exploitation’.
Story Source & Image Source: Science Daily
Originally written by: Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
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