AGENCY FOR TOXIC SUBSTANCES AND DISEASE REGISTRY

Viral replication

Viral replication is the formation of biological viruses during the infection process in the target host cells. Viruses must first get into the cell before viral replication can occur. Through the generation of abundant copies of its genome and packaging these copies, the virus continues infecting new hosts. Replication between viruses is greatly varied and depends on the type of genes involved in them. Most DNA viruses assemble in the nucleus while most RNA viruses develop solely in cytoplasm.

It is the first step of viral replication. The virus attaches to the cell membrane of the host cell. It then injects its DNA or RNA into the host to initiate infection. In animal cells these viruses get into the cell through the process of endocytosis which works through fusing of the virus and fusing of the viral envelope with the cell membrane of the animal cell and in plant cell it enters through the process of pinocytosis which works on pinching of the viruses.

This type of virus usually must enter the host nucleus before it is able to replicate. Some of these viruses require host cell polymerases to replicate their genome, while others, such as adenoviruses or herpes viruses, encode their own replication factors. However, in either cases, replication of the viral genome is highly dependent on a cellular state permissive to DNA replication and, thus, on the cell cycle. The virus may induce the cell to forcefully undergo cell division, which may lead to transformation of the cell and, ultimately, cancer. An example of a family within this classification is the Adenoviridae.

Viruses that fall under this category include ones that are not as well-studied, but still do pertain highly to vertebrates. Two examples include the Circoviridae and Parvoviridae. They replicate within the nucleus, and form a double-stranded DNA intermediate during replication. A human Anellovirus called TTV is included within this classification and is found in almost all humans, infecting them asymptomatically in nearly every major organ.

Like most viruses with RNA genomes, double-stranded RNA viruses do not rely on host polymerases for replication to the extent that viruses with DNA genomes do. Double-stranded RNA viruses are not as well-studied as other classes. This class includes two major families, the Reoviridae and Birnaviridae. Replication is monocistronic and includes individual, segmented genomes, meaning that each of the genes codes for only one protein, unlike other viruses, which exhibit more complex translation.

These viruses consist of two types, however both share the fact that replication is primarily in the cytoplasm, and that replication is not as dependent on the cell cycle as that of DNA viruses. This class of viruses is also one of the most-studied types of viruses, alongside the double-stranded DNA viruses.

This small group of viruses, exemplified by the Hepatitis B virus, have a double-stranded, gapped genome that is subsequently filled in to form a covalently closed circle (cccDNA) that serves as a template for production of viral mRNAs and a subgenomic RNA. The pregenome RNA serves as template for the viral reverse transcriptase and for production of the DNA genome.