Ribosomes, RNA and pseudoknots

  • Thread starter Edgardo
  • Start date
  • #1
703
13

Main Question or Discussion Point

The article Danish researchers solve virus puzzle
here
describes how physicists and biologists work together to examine how viruses are produced by a cell.

As far as I understand, every human cell has RNA which contains the 'recipe' on how to build proteins. The human cell also contains ribosomes that read the RNA and produce proteins.

Now, the virus invades the cell, leaves its RNA in the cell. The trick: because the viral RNA resembles the human RNA, the ribosomes read the viral ribosomes and produce proteins for the construction of a virus.

But the viral RNA has in contrast to the human RNA some curls, called pseudo-knots. The ribosomes have to unravel the pseudo-knot first. While doing this, they sometimes slip backwards such that the recipe is read in a different way.

Now my question about the following passage in the article:
During this process the ribosome sometimes slips backwards and, like the letters making up a word, it now reads a new RNA sequence and hence uses another recipe to construct the protein. The researchers have found that the stronger the pseudoknot the more often this backwards slipping happens. The different protein formed is the protein needed by the virus, with possible serious consequences for the hosting organism. This is the manner in which many vira, e.g. HIV, trick the cell into producing something which it never would have done otherwise.
I wonder about the sentence The different protein formed is the protein needed by the virus. Why can this different protein also be used to construct the protein?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
703
13
Oops, my question is of course:
Why can this different protein also be used to construct the virus?
 

Related Threads for: Ribosomes, RNA and pseudoknots

Replies
9
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
7
Views
6K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
2K
Replies
2
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
2K
Replies
22
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
1K
Top