Diverse roles of host RNA-binding proteins in RNA virus replication

Zhenghe Li, Peter D. Nagy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Plus-strand (+)RNA viruses co-opt host RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) to perform many functions during viral replication. A few host RBPs have been identified that affect the recruitment of viral (+)RNAs for replication. Other subverted host RBPs help the assembly of the membrane-bound replicase complexes, regulate the activity of the replicase and control minus- or plus-strand RNA synthesis. Host RBPs also affect the stability of viral RNAs, which have to escape cellular RNA degradation pathways. While many host RBPs seem to have specialized functions, others participate in multiple events during infection. Several conserved RBPs, such as eEF1A, hnRNP proteins and the Lsm 1-7 complex, are co-opted by evolutionarily diverse (+)RNA viruses, underscoring some common themes in virushost interactions. On the other hand, viruses also hijack unique RBPs, suggesting that (+)RNA viruses could utilize different RBPs to perform similar functions. Moreover, different (+) RNA viruses have adapted distinctive strategies for co-opting unique RBPs. Altogether, a deeper understanding of the functions of the host RBPs subverted for viral replication will help development of novel antiviral strategies and give new insights into host RNA biology.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRNA Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The remarkable magnitude and diversity of host RBPs subverted for (+)RNA virus replication highlights that RBPs are major players determining virus-cell interactions. Several conserved RBPs, such as eEF1A, hnRNP proteins and Lsm 1–7 complex, have been identified in association with evolutionarily The authors thank Drs. Daniel Barajas, Tyng-Shyan Huang, diverse (+)RNA viruses, underlying some common themes in Kunj Pathak and Judit Pogany for valuable comments. This virus-host interactions. However, there are unique RBPs identi-work was supported by the National Science Foundation (IOB-fied as well, suggesting that either (+)RNA viruses could utilize 0517218) and NIH-NIAID to P.D.N. different RBPs to perform similar functions or different (+)RNAviruses adapted unique strategies by co-opting specialized RBPs.


  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Host factor
  • Poliovirus
  • Positive-strand
  • RNA virus
  • RNA-binding
  • Replication
  • Tomato bushy stunt virus
  • West nile virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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