Decapping host and viral RNAs

In a recent work with Yolanda Revilla’s lab (CBMSO, Madrid) published in the Journal of Virology, we investigated the role in RNA metabolism of a protein from a complex DNA virus, called African swine fever virus (ASFV). This protein exhibits high homology with cellular decapping enzymes and thus can potentially remove the cap structure from the RNA body triggering degradation.  We show that this protein interacts with viral and cellular mRNAs in infected cells. This interaction results in decreased levels of both types of transcripts, agreeing with a putative role as virus-encoded decapping activity. We propose that the degradation of RNA triggered by this protein is key to control gene expression in ASFV infected cells.