- All viruses are composed of a genome and an encapsulating protein. The genome carries the virus’ genetic information and the capsid protein protects the genome from degrading enzymes inside the host cell.
- A critical step in viral replication is the assembly of the capsid protein; specifically, the process of folding the protein string around the viral genome. This process has remained a mystery to scientists because the virus does not carry any enzymes to aid in the process.
- The researchers found a code hidden within the virus genome which allows the RNA to act as an enzyme. The code causes the RNA to fold into a “secondary structure”, which creates a series of packaging signals to direct the folding of the protein around the genome. This discovery may lead to a new class of anti-viral drugs that disrupt the packaging signals, thus preventing assembly and replication.
Code cracked for infections by major group of viruses including common cold and polio
2. 7. 15 by MolecularMatt