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How does the virus infect cells?

A team of scientists from the Universities of Leeds and York have identified the way in which viruses infect cells.

Editor: Bolysbek Dana

Author: Tulkibaeva Nursulu

Translator: Tursunova Balkadisha


A virus is a non-cellular form of life that uses the resources of the host cell to create its copies. These same copies, called virions, have the function of transmitting the virus genome to other cells, i.e., infect. The article, written by scientists from the Universities of Leeds and York, describes how these virions are assembled.

The results of the study were published in the journal PLOS Pathogens.

The subject of the study was a virus that does not cause infection in humans, enterovirus E. Using advanced technology, the scientists were able to visualize the process of assembling virions. Based on the data obtained, it was revealed that the virus contains so-called "RNA packaging signals", which are responsible for the formation of copies of the virus. These are short sections of the RNA molecule that, together with the virus envelope proteins, provide accurate and efficient formation of the infectious virion. The researchers were able to identify possible sites in the RNA molecule that could act as packaging signals.

The enterovirus group also includes poliovirus, which causes polio, and rhinovirus, which causes the common cold. This fact makes us understand that the process of infection will be the same.

Professor Peter Stockley, who partly led the study, said: "This study is extremely important, it changes our understanding of how we can control some viral diseases. If we can disrupt the mechanism of virion formation, then there is the potential to stop the infection in its path."