Picornavirus 3C Proteins Intervene in Host Cell Processes through Proteolysis and Interactions with RNA

Somnath Mondal, Gisoo Sarvari, David D. Boehr

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The Picornaviridae family comprises a large group of non-enveloped viruses with enormous impact on human and animal health. The picornaviral genome contains one open reading frame encoding a single polyprotein that can be processed by viral proteases. The picornaviral 3C proteases share similar three-dimensional structures and play a significant role in the viral life cycle and virus–host interactions. Picornaviral 3C proteins also have conserved RNA-binding activities that contribute to the assembly of the viral RNA replication complex. The 3C protease is important for regulating the host cell response through the cleavage of critical host cell proteins, acting to selectively ‘hijack’ host factors involved in gene expression, promoting picornavirus replication, and inactivating key factors in innate immunity signaling pathways. The protease and RNA-binding activities of 3C are involved in viral polyprotein processing and the initiation of viral RNA synthesis. Most importantly, 3C modifies critical molecules in host organelles and maintains virus infection by subtly subverting host cell death through the blocking of transcription, translation, and nucleocytoplasmic trafficking to modulate cell physiology for viral replication. Here, we discuss the molecular mechanisms through which 3C mediates physiological processes involved in promoting virus infection, replication, and release.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2413
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology

Cite this