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      Liquid Biomolecular Condensates and Viral Lifecycles: Review and Perspectives

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          Abstract

          Viruses are highly dependent on the host they infect. Their dependence triggers processes of virus–host co-adaptation, enabling viruses to explore host resources whilst escaping immunity. Scientists have tackled viral–host interplay at differing levels of complexity—in individual hosts, organs, tissues and cells—and seminal studies advanced our understanding about viral lifecycles, intra- or inter-species transmission, and means to control infections. Recently, it emerged as important to address the physical properties of the materials in biological systems; membrane-bound organelles are only one of many ways to separate molecules from the cellular milieu. By achieving a type of compartmentalization lacking membranes known as biomolecular condensates, biological systems developed alternative mechanisms of controlling reactions. The identification that many biological condensates display liquid properties led to the proposal that liquid–liquid phase separation (LLPS) drives their formation. The concept of LLPS is a paradigm shift in cellular structure and organization. There is an unprecedented momentum to revisit long-standing questions in virology and to explore novel antiviral strategies. In the first part of this review, we focus on the state-of-the-art about biomolecular condensates. In the second part, we capture what is known about RNA virus-phase biology and discuss future perspectives of this emerging field in virology.

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          Most cited references223

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          A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin

          Since the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) 18 years ago, a large number of SARS-related coronaviruses (SARSr-CoVs) have been discovered in their natural reservoir host, bats 1–4 . Previous studies have shown that some bat SARSr-CoVs have the potential to infect humans 5–7 . Here we report the identification and characterization of a new coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which caused an epidemic of acute respiratory syndrome in humans in Wuhan, China. The epidemic, which started on 12 December 2019, had caused 2,794 laboratory-confirmed infections including 80 deaths by 26 January 2020. Full-length genome sequences were obtained from five patients at an early stage of the outbreak. The sequences are almost identical and share 79.6% sequence identity to SARS-CoV. Furthermore, we show that 2019-nCoV is 96% identical at the whole-genome level to a bat coronavirus. Pairwise protein sequence analysis of seven conserved non-structural proteins domains show that this virus belongs to the species of SARSr-CoV. In addition, 2019-nCoV virus isolated from the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of a critically ill patient could be neutralized by sera from several patients. Notably, we confirmed that 2019-nCoV uses the same cell entry receptor—angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2)—as SARS-CoV.
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            A SARS-CoV-2 Protein Interaction Map Reveals Targets for Drug-Repurposing

            SUMMARY The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19 respiratory disease, has infected over 2.3 million people, killed over 160,000, and caused worldwide social and economic disruption 1,2 . There are currently no antiviral drugs with proven clinical efficacy, nor are there vaccines for its prevention, and these efforts are hampered by limited knowledge of the molecular details of SARS-CoV-2 infection. To address this, we cloned, tagged and expressed 26 of the 29 SARS-CoV-2 proteins in human cells and identified the human proteins physically associated with each using affinity-purification mass spectrometry (AP-MS), identifying 332 high-confidence SARS-CoV-2-human protein-protein interactions (PPIs). Among these, we identify 66 druggable human proteins or host factors targeted by 69 compounds (29 FDA-approved drugs, 12 drugs in clinical trials, and 28 preclinical compounds). Screening a subset of these in multiple viral assays identified two sets of pharmacological agents that displayed antiviral activity: inhibitors of mRNA translation and predicted regulators of the Sigma1 and Sigma2 receptors. Further studies of these host factor targeting agents, including their combination with drugs that directly target viral enzymes, could lead to a therapeutic regimen to treat COVID-19.
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              Biomolecular condensates: organizers of cellular biochemistry

              In addition to membrane-bound organelles, eukaryotic cells feature various membraneless compartments, including the centrosome, the nucleolus and various granules. Many of these compartments form through liquid–liquid phase separation, and the principles, mechanisms and regulation of their assembly as well as their cellular functions are now beginning to emerge.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Academic Editor
                Journal
                Viruses
                Viruses
                viruses
                Viruses
                MDPI
                1999-4915
                25 February 2021
                March 2021
                : 13
                : 3
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Cell Biology of Viral Infection Lab, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, 2780-156 Oeiras, Portugal; etibor@ 123456igc.gulbenkian.pt
                [2 ]School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TL, UK; yohei.yamauchi@ 123456bristol.ac.uk
                Author notes
                Article
                viruses-13-00366
                10.3390/v13030366
                7996568
                33669141
                f949e10a-ede0-4173-b39e-8a74eead93d2
                © 2021 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                Categories
                Review

                Microbiology & Virology
                llps,viral factories,liquid organelles,viruses,biomolecular condensates,hiv,sars-cov-2,measles,vesicular stomatitis virus,influenza a virus,rabies

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