A Cap-to-Tail Guide to mRNA Translation Strategies in Virus-Infected Cells

Eric Jan, Ian Mohr, Derek Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Although viruses require cellular functions to replicate, their absolute dependence upon the host translation machinery to produce polypeptides indispensable for their reproduction is most conspicuous. Despite their incredible diversity, the mRNAs produced by all viruses must engage cellular ribosomes. This has proven to be anything but a passive process and has revealed a remarkable array of tactics for rapidly subverting control over and dominating cellular regulatory pathways that influence translation initiation, elongation, and termination. Besides enforcing viral mRNA translation, these processes profoundly impact host cell-intrinsic immune defenses at the ready to deny foreign mRNA access to ribosomes and block protein synthesis. Finally, genome size constraints have driven the evolution of resourceful strategies for maximizing viral coding capacity. Here, we review the amazing strategies that work to regulate translation in virus-infected cells, highlighting both virus-specific tactics and the tremendous insight they provide into fundamental translational control mechanisms in health and disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-307
Number of pages25
JournalAnnual Review of Virology
StatePublished - Sep 29 2016


  • Host responses
  • IRES
  • MRNA structure
  • Protein synthesis
  • Ribosome
  • Signaling
  • Translation factor
  • Virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


Dive into the research topics of 'A Cap-to-Tail Guide to mRNA Translation Strategies in Virus-Infected Cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this