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J Virol. 2011 Mar;85(6):2657-65. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01765-10. Epub 2010 Dec 29.

JNK1 is required for lentivirus entry and gene transfer.

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  • 1Bioengineering Laboratory, 908 Furnas Hall, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Amherst, NY 14260-4200, USA.


Although a lot of progress has been made in development of lentiviral vectors for gene therapy, the interactions of these vectors with cellular factors have not been explored adequately. Here we show that lentivirus infection phosphorylates JNK and that blocking the kinase activity of JNK decreases gene transfer in a dose-dependent manner, regardless of the viral envelope glycoprotein. Knockdown by small interfering RNA (siRNA) revealed that JNK1 but not JNK2 was required for productive gene transfer. The effect of JNK on gene transfer was not due to changes in the cell cycle, as JNK knockdown did not affect the cell cycle profile of target cells and even increased cell proliferation. In addition, confluent cell monolayers also exhibited JNK phosphorylation upon lentivirus infection and a dose-dependent decrease in gene transfer efficiency upon JNK inhibition. On the other hand, JNK activation was necessary for lentivirus internalization into the cell cytoplasm, while inhibition of JNK activity decreased virus entry without affecting binding to the cell surface. These experiments suggest that JNK is required for lentivirus entry into target cells and may have implications for gene transfer or for development of antiviral agents.

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