What exactly happens when a virus infects a host?

Stress granules There have been some great papers published recently summarizing the interactions which take place between virus and host during infection.

The first to grab my eye was: Inflammasomes and viruses: cellular defence versus viral offence. J Gen Virol. 27 Jun 2012. This paper reviews multimeric complexes known as “inflammasomes”, a key feature in the activation of the the innate arm of the host immune system.

Zooming into the depths of the cell brings us to How Do Viruses Interact with Stress-Associated RNA Granules? (2012) PLoS Pathog 8(6): e1002741. Host mRNAs are always dynamically exchanged between translating and non-translating pools. Non-translating pools are organized into specialized RNA granules called stress granules (SGs) and processing bodies (PBs), which have fundamental roles in inhibition and degradation of host mRNAs. Virus infection usually results in interference in many cell processes in ways that directly induce stress responses. Cells respond to many types of stress by transient global inhibition of protein synthesis in order to promote cell survival through restricted consumption of nutrients and energy. This can also redirect gene expression and resources to damage repair pathways.


Great stuff, really getting to the heart of what goes on in the battle between virus and host.

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