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      The Molecular Biology of Coronaviruses

      review-article
      Advances in Virus Research
      Elsevier Inc.

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          Abstract

          Coronaviruses are large, enveloped RNA viruses of both medical and veterinary importance. Interest in this viral family has intensified in the past few years as a result of the identification of a newly emerged coronavirus as the causative agent of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). At the molecular level, coronaviruses employ a variety of unusual strategies to accomplish a complex program of gene expression. Coronavirus replication entails ribosome frameshifting during genome translation, the synthesis of both genomic and multiple subgenomic RNA species, and the assembly of progeny virions by a pathway that is unique among enveloped RNA viruses. Progress in the investigation of these processes has been enhanced by the development of reverse genetic systems, an advance that was heretofore obstructed by the enormous size of the coronavirus genome. This review summarizes both classical and contemporary discoveries in the study of the molecular biology of these infectious agents, with particular emphasis on the nature and recognition of viral receptors, viral RNA synthesis, and the molecular interactions governing virion assembly.

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          Most cited references439

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          A novel coronavirus associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome.

          A worldwide outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has been associated with exposures originating from a single ill health care worker from Guangdong Province, China. We conducted studies to identify the etiologic agent of this outbreak. We received clinical specimens from patients in seven countries and tested them, using virus-isolation techniques, electron-microscopical and histologic studies, and molecular and serologic assays, in an attempt to identify a wide range of potential pathogens. None of the previously described respiratory pathogens were consistently identified. However, a novel coronavirus was isolated from patients who met the case definition of SARS. Cytopathological features were noted in Vero E6 cells inoculated with a throat-swab specimen. Electron-microscopical examination revealed ultrastructural features characteristic of coronaviruses. Immunohistochemical and immunofluorescence staining revealed reactivity with group I coronavirus polyclonal antibodies. Consensus coronavirus primers designed to amplify a fragment of the polymerase gene by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) were used to obtain a sequence that clearly identified the isolate as a unique coronavirus only distantly related to previously sequenced coronaviruses. With specific diagnostic RT-PCR primers we identified several identical nucleotide sequences in 12 patients from several locations, a finding consistent with a point-source outbreak. Indirect fluorescence antibody tests and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays made with the new isolate have been used to demonstrate a virus-specific serologic response. This virus may never before have circulated in the U.S. population. A novel coronavirus is associated with this outbreak, and the evidence indicates that this virus has an etiologic role in SARS. Because of the death of Dr. Carlo Urbani, we propose that our first isolate be named the Urbani strain of SARS-associated coronavirus. Copyright 2003 Massachusetts Medical Society
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            Characterization of a novel coronavirus associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome.

            P Rota (2003)
            In March 2003, a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV) was discovered in association with cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The sequence of the complete genome of SARS-CoV was determined, and the initial characterization of the viral genome is presented in this report. The genome of SARS-CoV is 29,727 nucleotides in length and has 11 open reading frames, and its genome organization is similar to that of other coronaviruses. Phylogenetic analyses and sequence comparisons showed that SARS-CoV is not closely related to any of the previously characterized coronaviruses.
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              Isolation and characterization of viruses related to the SARS coronavirus from animals in southern China.

              Y Guan (2003)
              A novel coronavirus (SCoV) is the etiological agent of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). SCoV-like viruses were isolated from Himalayan palm civets found in a live-animal market in Guangdong, China. Evidence of virus infection was also detected in other animals (including a raccoon dog, Nyctereutes procyonoides) and in humans working at the same market. All the animal isolates retain a 29-nucleotide sequence that is not found in most human isolates. The detection of SCoV-like viruses in small, live wild mammals in a retail market indicates a route of interspecies transmission, although the natural reservoir is not known.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Adv Virus Res
                Adv. Virus Res
                Advances in Virus Research
                Elsevier Inc.
                0065-3527
                1557-8399
                28 July 2006
                2006
                28 July 2006
                : 66
                : 193-292
                Affiliations
                Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Albany, New York 12201
                Article
                S0065-3527(06)66005-3
                10.1016/S0065-3527(06)66005-3
                7112330
                16877062
                1c640753-7f59-4e1e-895b-e345413940cc
                Copyright © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

                Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.

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