MERS coronavirus nsp1 participates in an efficient propagation through a specific interaction with viral RNA

Virology. 2017 Nov;511:95-105. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2017.08.026. Epub 2017 Aug 23.


MERS-CoV is the only lethal human CoV still endemic in the Arabian Peninsula and neither vaccine nor therapeutics against MERS-CoV infection is available. The nsp1 of CoV is thought to be a major virulence factor because it suppresses protein synthesis through the degradation of host mRNA. In contrast, viral RNA circumvents the nsp1-mediated translational shutoff for an efficient propagation. In this study, we identified amino acid residue in MERS-CoV nsp1 that differ from those of SARS-CoV nsp1, and that appear to be crucial for circumventing the translational shutoff. In addition, reverse genetics analysis suggested the presence of a cis-acting element at the 5'-terminus of the nsp1-coding region, which contributes to the specific recognition of viral RNA that is required for an efficient viral replication. Our results suggest the CoVs share a common mechanism for circumventing the nsp1-mediated translational shutoff.

Keywords: Coronavirus; MERS-CoV; Nsp1; RNA recognition; Viral replication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Humans
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / physiology*
  • Mutant Proteins / genetics
  • Mutant Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA, Viral / metabolism*
  • Reverse Genetics
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins / metabolism*
  • Virus Replication*


  • Mutant Proteins
  • RNA, Viral
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins