Introduction. Virological literature tends, almost universally, to consider either the structural events leading to release of RNA from a virus particle into the cytoplasmic matrix (the so-called early events), or the subsequent functional expression of that RNA by the cellular protein synthetic machinery. Seldom are both aspects viewed together. This convenient, arbitrary division might not exist and we should perhaps consider these two processes occurring in concert, bearing in mind the likely fate of the released RNA.

As the title suggests, the principal aim of this review is to introduce a new perspective on the location and mechanism of the uncoating of positive-sense RNA viruses. Recent results from my laboratory (Wilson, 1984) and work by several colleagues (Brisco , 1985; D. V. Sangar, personal communication) have alerted us to the possibility that nucleocapsid disassembly might occur as a consequence of translational events (i.e. ‘co-translational disassembly’).


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