Poxviruses are large double-stranded DNA viruses that encode their own DNA replication, transcription, and mRNA biogenesis machinery, which underlies their ability to replicate entirely in the cytoplasm. However, like all other viruses, poxviruses remain dependent on host ribosomes to translate their mRNAs into the viral proteins needed to complete their replication cycle. While earlier studies established a fundamental understanding of how poxviruses wrestle with their hosts for control of translation initiation and elongation factors that guide ribosome recruitment and mRNA decoding, recent work has begun to reveal the extent to which poxviruses directly target the ribosome itself. This review summarizes our current understanding of the regulation of ribosomes and translation in poxvirus infection.
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