Coronavirus RNA synthesis occurs within membrane-bound sites

In a study of infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), published in Viruses, researchers at The Pirbright Institute found that replication of coronavirus genetic material (RNA) in host cells happens in a separate membrane-bound compartment within the cell. These compartments are likely to provide a way to protect the RNA from being recognised by the cell’s natural defences.

In addition to this being investigated for IBV, the researchers also explored how RNA is replicated by other coronaviruses (SARS-CoV-2, human coronavirus 229EV and porcine deltacoronavirus). They found that RNA replication is similar across all coronaviruses investigated.

Dr Helena Maier, head of the Coronavirus Cellular Biology group at Pirbright said: “Knowing that all coronaviruses replicate viral RNA within a membrane-bound compartment is a significant step in understanding the replication of this important virus family. This discovery could prove important when thinking about how to control the spread of diseases caused by coronaviruses, and how to protect human and animal health.”

Article: Doyle, N., Simpson, J., Hawes, P. C., Maier, H. J. (2021). Coronavirus RNA Synthesis Takes Place within Membrane-Bound Sites. Viruses, 13(12), 2540, doi: 10.3390/v13122540