How the double spherules of infectious bronchitis virus impact our understanding of RNA virus replicative organelles.
Additional Document Info
Powered by advances in electron tomography, recent studies have extended our understanding of how viruses construct "replication factories" inside infected cells. Their function, however, remains an area of speculation with important implications for human health. It is clear from these studies that whatever their purpose, organelle structure is dynamic (M. Ulasli, M. H. Verheije, C. A. de Haan, and F. Reggiori, Cell. Microbiol. 12:844-861, 2010) and intricate (K. Knoops, M. Kikkert, S. H. Worm, J. C. Zevenhoven-Dobbe, Y. van der Meer, et al., PLOS Biol. 6:e226, 2008). But by concentrating on medically important viruses, these studies have failed to take advantage of the genetic variation inherent in a family of viruses that is as diverse as the archaea, bacteria, and eukaryotes combined (C. Lauber, J. J. Goeman, M. del Carmen Parquet, P. T. Nga, E. J. Snijder, et al., PLOS Pathog. 9:e1003500, 2013). In this climate, Maier et al. (H. J. Maier, P. C. Hawes, E. M. Cottam, J. Mantell, P. Verkade, et al., mBio 4:e00801-13, 2013) explored the replicative structures formed by an avian coronavirus that appears to have diverged at an early point in coronavirus evolution and shed light on controversial aspects of viral biology.