Viral polymerases play a central role in viral genome replication and transcription. Based on the genome type and the specific needs of particular virus, RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, RNA-dependent DNA polymerase, DNA-dependent RNA polymerase, and DNA-dependent RNA polymerases are found in various viruses. Viral polymerases are generally active as a single protein capable of carrying out multiple functions related to viral genome synthesis. Specifically, viral polymerases use variety of mechanisms to recognize initial binding sites, ensure processive elongation, terminate replication at the end of the genome, and also coordinate the chemical steps of nucleic acid synthesis with other enzymatic activities. This review focuses on different viral genome replication and transcription strategies, and the polymerase interactions with various viral proteins that are necessary to complete genome synthesis.
KeywordsViral Polymerase Terminal Protein Polymerase Domain Noncatalytic Site Prime Terminus
I would like to thank Drs. Michael Rossmann, James Groarke, Marc Morais, Lucia Rothman-Denes, Peter Mason, and many colleagues who shared their passion for viruses with me throughout the years. The work is supported by NIH grants AI057156 and AI087856.
- Boivin S, Cusack S, Ruigrok RW, Hart DJ (2010) Influenza A virus polymerase: structural insights into replication and host adaptation mechanisms. J Biol Chem 285(37):28411–28417Google Scholar
- Golomb M, Chamberlin M (1974) Characterization of T7-specific ribonucleic acid polymerase. IV. Resolution of the major in vitro transcripts by gel electrophoresis. J Biol Chem 249(9):2858–2863Google Scholar
- Jacobo-Molina A, Ding J, Nanni RG, Clark AD Jr, Lu X, Tantillo C, Williams RL, Kamer G, Ferris AL, Clark P et al (1993) Crystal structure of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 reverse transcriptase complexed with double-stranded DNA at 3.0 A resolution shows bent DNA. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 90:6320–6324PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Malet H, Egloff MP, Selisko B, Butcher RE, Wright PJ, Roberts M, Gruez A, Sulzenbacher G, Vonrhein C, Bricogne G, Mackenzie JM, Khromykh AA, Davidson AD, Canard B (2007) Crystal structure of the RNA polymerase domain of the West Nile virus non-structural protein 5. J Biol Chem 282:10678–10689PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Morin B, Coutard B, Lelke M, Ferron F, Kerber R, Jamal S, Frangeul A, Baronti C, Charrel R, de Lamballerie X, Vonrhein C, Lescar J, Bricogne G, Gunther S, Canard B (2010) The N-terminal domain of the arenavirus L protein is an RNA endonuclease essential in mRNA transcription. PLoS Pathog 6:e1001038PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Temiakov D, Mentesana PE, Ma K, Mustaev A, Borukhov S, McAllister WT (2000) The specificity loop of T7 RNA polymerase interacts first with the promoter and then with the elongating transcript, suggesting a mechanism for promoter clearance. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 97:14109–14114PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Wendeler M, Miller JT, Le Grice SFJ (2009) Human immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptase. Cameron, Craig E.; Gotte, Matthias; Raney, Kevin D. (Eds.) In: Viral genome replication, Springer Science + Business Media, New York, pp 403–427Google Scholar