The long-lasting enigma of polycytidine (polyC) tract

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AU Long: Pleaseconfirmthatallheadinglevelsarerepresentedcorrectly polycytidine (polyC) tracts varying in length from 50 to:400 nucleotides were first described in the 50-noncoding region (NCR) of genomes of picornaviruses belonging to the Cardio- and Aphthovirus genera over 50 years ago, but the molecular basis of their function is still unknown. Truncation or complete deletion of the polyC tracts in picornaviruses compromises virulence and pathogenicity but do not affect replicative fitness in vitro, suggesting a role as “viral security” RNA element. The evidence available suggests that the presence of a long polyC tract is required for replication in immune cells, which impacts viral distribution and targeting, and, consequently, pathogenic progression. Viral attenuation achieved by reduction of the polyC tract length has been successfully used for vaccine strategies. Further elucidation of the role of the polyC tract in viral replication cycle and its connection with replication in immune cells has the potential to expand the arsenal of tools in the fight against cancer in oncolytic virotherapy (OV). Here, we review the published data on the biological significance and mechanisms of action of the polyC tract in viral pathogenesis in Cardio- and Aphthoviruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1009739
JournalPLoS pathogens
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Virology


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