SARS-CoV-2 reshapes its RNA to speed up infection

Scientists from the University of Cambridge, in collaboration with the University of Justus-Liebig in Germany, have discovered that SARS-CoV-2 changes its RNA in order to quickly infect the victim, and then successfully multiply in it.

In their work, the team of scientists spoke in more detail about the entire structure of the SARS-CoV-2 genome inside the host cell. To do this, they identified a network of RNA-RNA interactions that spans very long sections of the genome.

The various functional parts of the genome must work together despite the large distance between them. New data on the structure of the virus data show how it lives and actively multiplies.

The RNA genome of coronaviruses is about three times larger than the average viral RNA genome. It’s huge!

Omer Ziv, Doctor of the Gourdon Institute in the UK

The researchers speculated that the work of the coronavirus genes seriously affects their replication and the production of viral proteins. But until recently, there were the right tools to fully map these interactions. Now that this work has been studied, it is possible to create more effective drugs for targeted control.

Coronaviruses have a special place where the ribosome stops only 50% of the time. In another 50% of cases, a unique form of RNA causes the ribosome to produce additional viral proteins. The study mapped the RNA structure to understand the strategies by which coronaviruses make their proteins.