Fig.1 Poliovirus genome organization and morphogenesis.
Fig.2 Poliovirus replication cycle.
Poliovirus, a serotype of the species Enterovirus C in the family of Picornaviridae, is the etiologic agent of the paralytic disease poliomyelitis (also known as polio). Poliovirus is composed of an RNA genome and a protein capsid. The genome is a single-stranded positive-sense RNA genome that is about 7500 nucleotides long. The viral particle is about 30 nm in diameter with icosahedral symmetry.
As Figure 1 shown, the coding region of the virus is conventionally divided into three sections, referred to as P1, P2, and P3. The P1 region encodes the structural (capsid) proteins. The P2 region encodes proteins required for RNA replication and one of the viral proteinases responsible for host cell shut-off of cap-dependent translation. The P3 region encodes the major viral proteinase (3Cpro), the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (3Dpol), and other proteins required for RNA replication. The coding region is preceded by an unusually long 5’ NCR, which directs translation initiation by internal ribosome entry in the absence of cap-dependent functions. The viral genome also contains a short 3’ NCR, which presumably contains cis-acting sequences involved in template recognition by the viral-replication initiation complex.
Fig.3 Functional map of the poliovirus genome.
The three serotypes of poliovirus, PV-1, PV-2, and PV-3, each have a slightly different capsid protein. Capsid proteins define cellular receptor specificity and virus antigenicity. PV-1 is the most common form encountered in nature, but all three forms are extremely infectious. As of March 2020, wild PV-1 is highly localized to regions in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Wild PV-2 was declared eradicated in September 2015 after last being detected in 1999, whilst wild PV-3 was declared eradicated in 2019 after last being detected in 2012. Specific strains of each serotype are used to prepare vaccines against polio. Inactive polio vaccine is prepared by formalin inactivation of three wild, virulent reference strains, Mahoney or Brunenders (PV-1), MEF-1/Lansing (PV-2), and Saukett/Leon (PV-3).
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