Structure and Replication of Hepatitis Delta Virus RNA

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Abstract

While this volume covers many different aspects of hepatitis delta virus (HDV) replication, the focus in this chapter is on studies of the structure and replication of the HDV RNA genome. An evaluation of such studies is not only an integral part of our understanding of HDV infections but it also sheds new light on some important aspects of cell biology, such as the fidelity of RNA transcription by a host RNA polymerase and on various forms of post-transcriptional RNA processing. Representations of the replication of the RNA genome are frequently simplified to a form of rolling-circle model, analogous to what have been described for plant viroids. One theme of this review is that such models, even after some revision, deceptively simplify the complexity of HDV replication and can fail to make clear major questions yet to be solved.