Regulation of cell death during infection by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and other coronaviruses

  • Tan Y
  • Lim S
  • Hong W
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Both apoptosis and necrosis have been observed in cells infected by various coronaviruses, suggesting that the regulation of cell death is important for viral replication and/or pathogenesis. Expeditious research on the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus, one of the latest discovered coronaviruses that infect humans, has provided valuable insights into the molecular aspects of cell-death regulation during infection. Apoptosis was observed in vitro, while both apoptosis and necrosis were observed in tissues obtained from SARS patients. Viral proteins that can regulate apoptosis have been identified, and many of these also have the abilities to interfere with cellular functions. Occurrence of cell death in host cells during infection by other coronaviruses, such as the mouse hepatitis virus and transmissible porcine gastroenteritis virus, has also being extensively studied. The diverse cellular responses to infection revealed the complex manner by which coronaviruses affect cellular homeostasis and modulate cell death. As a result of the complex interplay between virus and host, infection of different cell types by the same virus does not necessarily activate the same cell-death pathway. Continuing research will lead to a better understanding of the regulation of cell death during viral infection and the identification of novel antiviral targets.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis/physiology
  • Cell Death/physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Necrosis
  • SARS Virus/*physiology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/*pathology/virol

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  • Y J Tan

  • S G Lim

  • W Hong

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