Picornaviruses: A View from 3A

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review


Picornaviruses are comprised of a positive-sense RNA genome surrounded by a protein shell (or capsid). They are ubiquitous in vertebrates and cause a wide range of important human and animal diseases. The genome encodes a single large polyprotein that is processed to structural (capsid) and non-structural proteins. The non-structural proteins have key functions within the viral replication complex. Some, such as 3Dpol (the RNA dependent RNA polymerase) have conserved functions and participate directly in replicating the viral genome, whereas others, such as 3A, have accessory roles. The 3A proteins are highly divergent across the Picornaviridae and have specific roles both within and outside of the replication complex, which differ between the different genera. These roles include subverting host proteins to generate replication organelles and inhibition of cellular functions (such as protein secretion) to influence virus replication efficiency and the host response to infection. In addition, 3A proteins are associated with the determination of host range. However, recent observations have challenged some of the roles assigned to 3A and suggest that other viral proteins may carry them out. In this review, we revisit the roles of 3A in the picornavirus life cycle. The 3AB precursor and mature 3A have distinct functions during viral replication and, therefore, we have also included discussion of some of the roles assigned to 3AB.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • lipid droplets, membrane interactions, phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase, protein interactions, protein trafficking, replication organelles, RNA replication, virus host-range, virus replication

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