Molecular Biology of SARS-CoV-2
The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has resulted in the COVID-19 pandemic, which is currently wreaking havoc in human societies. To understand how this virus causes disease, the molecular biology of the virus needs to be studied in more detail. There is a large body of work on the molecular strategies of previous coronaviruses that infected humans, which can be directly applied to SARS-CoV-2. In the current review we highlight the novel aspects of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus life cycle, and how this and other viruses interact with the biochemistry of the host organism. We provide a discussion of different types of viruses as a background to understand coronaviruses. Specifically, we compare the life cycles of coronaviruses with that of a model retrovirus, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). We describe the genomic, transcription and translation control features of coronaviruses with a focus on protein structures and activities that can be selected as molecular targets of therapy.