Title

The 50th anniversary of reverse transcriptase-and its ironic legacy in the time of coronavirus

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

Publication Date

2020-06-11

Document Type

Editorial

Disciplines

Enzymes and Coenzymes | Immunology and Infectious Disease | Infectious Disease | Microbiology | Molecular Biology | Nucleic Acids, Nucleotides, and Nucleosides | Virus Diseases

Abstract

On June 27, 1970, back‐to‐back papers were published in Nature presenting evidence that two oncogenic viruses contain an enzymatic activity that can synthesize a DNA strand from their RNA genome. The authors soberly referred to this activity as “RNA‐dependent DNA polymerase” but an editor (most likely the playful editor‐in‐chief John Maddox) coined the term “reverse transcriptase” How these two discoveries were made, and the antecedents of each, are fascinating and, what is more, relevant to enzymology now at play in the coronavirus pandemic.

Keywords

COVID-19, coronavirus, reverse transcriptase, RNA replicase

DOI of Published Version

10.1096/fj.202001010

Source

Pederson T. The 50th anniversary of reverse transcriptase-and its ironic legacy in the time of coronavirus. FASEB J. 2020 Jun;34(6):7219-7221. doi: 10.1096/fj.202001010. PMID: 32545927. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID

32545927

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