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J Virol. 2013 Jan;87(1):372-83. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02305-12. Epub 2012 Oct 17.

Induction of stress granule-like structures in vesicular stomatitis virus-infected cells.

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  • 1School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the Nebraska Center for Virology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.


Previous studies from our laboratory revealed that cellular poly(C) binding protein 2 (PCBP2) downregulates vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) gene expression. We show here that VSV infection induces the formation of granular structures in the cytoplasm containing cellular RNA-binding proteins, including PCBP2, T-cell-restricted intracellular antigen 1 (TIA1), and TIA1-related protein (TIAR). Depletion of TIA1 via small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), but not depletion of TIAR, results in enhanced VSV growth and gene expression. The VSV-induced granules appear to be similar to the stress granules (SGs) generated in cells triggered by heat shock or oxidative stress but do not contain some of the bona fide SG markers, such as eukaryotic initiation factor 3 (eIF3) or eIF4A, or the processing body (PB) markers, such as mRNA-decapping enzyme 1A (DCP1a), and thus may not represent canonical SGs or PBs. Our results revealed that the VSV-induced granules, called SG-like structures here, contain the viral replicative proteins and RNAs. The formation and maintenance of the SG-like structures required viral replication and ongoing protein synthesis, but an intact cytoskeletal network was not necessary. These results suggest that cells respond to VSV infection by aggregating the antiviral proteins, such as PCBP2 and TIA1, to form SG-like structures. The functional significance of these SG-like structures in VSV-infected cells is currently under investigation.

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