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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Nucleolar Localization of HIV-1 Rev Is Required, Yet Insufficient for Production of Infectious Viral Particles.

  • Author(s): Arizala, Jerlisa Ann C;
  • Takahashi, Mayumi;
  • Burnett, John C;
  • Ouellet, Dominique L;
  • Li, Haitang;
  • Rossi, John J
  • et al.

Combination antiretroviral therapy fails in complete suppression of HIV-1 due to drug resistance and persistent latency. Novel therapeutic intervention requires knowledge of intracellular pathways responsible for viral replication, specifically those untargeted by antiretroviral drugs. An understudied phenomenon is the nucleolar localization of Rev phosphoprotein, which completes nucleocytoplasmic transport of unspliced/partially spliced HIV mRNA through multimerization with intronic cis-acting targets-the Rev-response element (RRE). Rev contains a nucleolar localization signal (NoLS) comprising the COOH terminus of the arginine-rich motif for accumulation within nucleoli-speculated as the interaction ground for Rev with cellular proteins mediating mRNA-independent nuclear export and splicing. Functionality of Rev nucleolar access during HIV-1 production and infection was investigated in the context of deletion and single-point mutations within Rev-NoLS. Mutations induced upon Rev-NoLS are hypothesized to inactivate the HIV-1 infectious cycle. HIV-1HXB2 replication ceased with Rev mutations lacking nucleolar access due to loss or replacement of multiple arginine residues. Rev mutations missing single arginine residues remained strictly nucleolar in pattern and participated in proviral production, however, with reduced efficiency. Viral RNA packaging also decreased in efficiency after expression of nucleolar-localizing mutations. These results were observed during propagation of variant HIV-1NL4-3 containing nucleolar-localizing mutations within the viral backbone (M4, M5, and M6). Lentiviral particles produced with Rev single-point mutations were transducible at extremely low frequency. Similarly, HIV-1NL4-3 Rev-NoLS variants lost infectivity, unlike virulent WT (wild type) HIV-1NL4-3. HIV-1NL4-3 variants were capable of CD4+ host entry and reverse transcription as WT HIV-1NL4-3, but lacked ability to complete a full infectious cycle. We currently reveal that viral integration is deregulated in the presence of Rev-NoLS mutations.

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