Poxviruses are an unusual family of large double-stranded (ds) DNA viruses that exhibit an incredible degree of self-sufficiency and complexity in their replication and immune evasion strategies. Indeed, amongst their approximately 200 open reading frames (ORFs), poxviruses encode approximately 100 immunomodulatory proteins to counter host responses along with complete DNA synthesis, transcription, mRNA processing and cytoplasmic redox systems that enable them to replicate exclusively in the cytoplasm of infected cells. However, like all other viruses poxviruses do not encode ribosomes and therefore remain completely dependent on gaining access to the host translational machinery in order to synthesize viral proteins. Early studies of these intriguing viruses helped discover the mRNA cap and polyadenylated (polyA) tail that we now know to be present on most eukaryotic messages and which play fundamental roles in mRNA translation, while more recent studies have begun to reveal the remarkable lengths poxviruses go to in order to control both host and viral protein synthesis. Here, we discuss some of the central strategies used by poxviruses and the broader battle that ensues with the host cell to control the translation system, the outcome of which ultimately dictates the fate of infection. This article is categorized under: Translation > Translation Regulation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology