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J Virol. 2011 Mar;85(5):2333-41. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01518-10. Epub 2010 Dec 15.

Foamy virus nuclear RNA export is distinct from that of other retroviruses.

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  • 1Universität Würzburg, Institut für Virologie und Immunbiologie, 97078 Würzburg, Germany.


Most retroviruses express all of their genes from a single primary transcript. In order to allow expression of more than one gene from this RNA, differential splicing is extensively used. Cellular quality control mechanisms retain and degrade unspliced or partially spliced RNAs in the nucleus. Two pathways have been described that explain how retroviruses circumvent this nuclear export inhibition. One involves a constitutive transport element in the viral RNA that interacts with the cellular mRNA transporter proteins NXF1 and NXT1 to facilitate nuclear export. The other pathway relies on the recognition of a viral RNA element by a virus-encoded protein that interacts with the karyopherin CRM1. In this report, we analyze the protein factors required for the nuclear export of unspliced foamy virus (FV) mRNA. We show that this export is CRM1 dependent. In contrast to other complex retroviruses, FVs do not encode an export-mediating protein. Cross-linking experiments indicated that the cellular protein HuR binds to the FV RNA. Inhibition studies showed that both ANP32A and ANP32B, which are known to bridge HuR and CRM1, are essential for FV RNA export. By using this export pathway, FVs solve a central problem of viral replication.

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