Structural insights into RNA polymerases of negative-sense RNA viruses.
RNA viruses include many important human and animal pathogens, such as the influenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus, Ebola virus, measles virus and rabies virus. The genomes of these viruses consist of single or multiple RNA segments that assemble with oligomeric viral nucleoprotein into ribonucleoprotein complexes. Replication and transcription of the viral genome is performed by ~250-450 kDa viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerases that also contain capping or cap-snatching activity. In this Review, we compare recent high-resolution X-ray and cryoelectron microscopy structures of RNA polymerases of negative-sense RNA viruses with segmented and non-segmented genomes, including orthomyxoviruses, peribunyaviruses, phenuiviruses, arenaviruses, rhabdoviruses, pneumoviruses and paramyxoviruses. In addition, we discuss how structural insights into these enzymes contribute to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of viral transcription and replication, and how we can use these insights to identify targets for antiviral drug design.