Viruses rely on the host cell translation machinery for efficient synthesis of their own proteins. Emerging evidence highlights different roles for host transfer RNAs (tRNAs) in the process of virus replication. For instance, different RNA viruses manipulate host tRNA pools to favor viral protein translation. Interestingly, specific host tRNAs are used as reverse transcription primers and are packaged into retroviral virions. Recent data also demonstrate the formation of tRNA-derived fragments (tRFs) upon infection to facilitate viral replication. Here, we comprehensively discuss how RNA viruses exploit distinct aspects of the host tRNA biology for their benefit. In light of the recent advances in the field, we propose that host tRNA-related pathways and mechanisms represent promising cellular targets for the development of novel antiviral strategies.
Keywords: codon usage host-cell translation machinery tRNA viral infection viruses