Regulation of stress granules and P-bodies during RNA virus infection

Wiley Interdiscip Rev RNA. May-Jun 2013;4(3):317-31. doi: 10.1002/wrna.1162. Epub 2013 Apr 3.


RNA granules are structures within cells that play major roles in gene expression and homeostasis. Two principle kinds of RNA granules are conserved from yeast to mammals: stress granules (SGs), which contain stalled translation initiation complexes, and processing bodies (P-bodies, PBs), which are enriched with factors involved in RNA turnover. Since RNA granules are associated with silenced transcripts, viruses subvert RNA granule function for replicative advantages. This review, focusing on RNA viruses, discusses mechanisms that manipulate stress granules and P-bodies to promote synthesis of viral proteins. Three main themes have emerged for how viruses manipulate RNA granules; (1) cleavage of key host factors, (2) control of protein kinase R (PKR) activation, and (3) redirecting RNA granule components for new or parallel roles in viral reproduction, at the same time disrupting RNA granules. Viruses utilize one or more of these routes to achieve robust and productive infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytoplasmic Granules / metabolism*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Macromolecular Substances / metabolism*
  • RNA Viruses / physiology*
  • Viral Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Virus Replication*


  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Viral Proteins