AAT Bioquest

What does RNA polymerase do in viruses?

Posted October 26, 2021


RNA polymerase plays a vital role in genome replication and transcription in viruses. RNA-dependent RNA polymerases and reverse transcriptases are unique to viruses since the host cell does not require the RNA replication or reverse transcription.

RNA polymerase in RNA viruses has a very high error rate because of the lack of proofreading ability. This lack of proofreading ability renders RNA polymerases incapable of correcting any mistakes they make. As a result, the mutations remain in the newly synthesized RNA. The high error rate explains why RNA viruses are so successful and how they evolve so readily.

Additional resources

The RNA polymerase "switch region" is a target for inhibitors

ReadiUse™ Viral RNA Lysis Buffer

PCR Detection of Viral DNA/RNA