Three-dimensional imaging of the intracellular assembly of a functional viral RNA replicase complex

Isabel Fernández de Castro, José J. Fernández, Daniel Barajas, Peter D. Nagy, Cristina Risco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Positive-strand RNA viruses, which can be devastating pathogens in humans, animals and plants, replicate their genomes on intracellular membranes. Here, we describe the three-dimensional ultrastructural organization of a tombusvirus replicase in yeast, a valuable model for exploring virus-host interactions. We visualized the intracellular distribution of a viral replicase protein using metal-tagging transmission electron microscopy, a highly sensitive nanotechnology whose full potential remains to be developed. These three-dimensional images show how viral replicase molecules are organized when they are incorporated into the active domains of the intracellular replication compartment. Our approach provides a means to study protein activation mechanisms in cells and to identify targets for new antiviral compounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-268
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


  • 3D electron microscopy
  • Clonable tag
  • Metal-tagging transmission electron microscopy
  • Tomography
  • Viral replication factory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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