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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Feb 4;94(3):973-8.

HIV Rev-dependent binding of SF2/ASF to the Rev response element: possible role in Rev-mediated inhibition of HIV RNA splicing.

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  • 1Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology, University of California, San Francisco 94141-9100, USA.


Production of the structural and enzymatic proteins of type 1 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) is controlled by the rev regulatory gene product. The 116-amino acid Rev protein acts by binding to the Rev response element (RRE), a complex RNA stem-loop structure located within the env gene of HIV. Rev exerts a series of posttranscriptional effects, including the inhibition of viral RNA splicing, the activation of nuclear export of incompletely spliced viral RNAs, and the enhancement of translation of RRE-containing RNAs. Our studies now demonstrate that at least one member of the SR family of splicing factors, SF2/ASF, specifically binds to a subregion of the RRE in vitro in a Rev-dependent manner. Furthermore, expression of high levels of SF2/ASF inhibits Rev function and impairs HIV replication in vivo. Both the in vitro binding of SF2/ASF to the Rev/RRE complex and the in vivo inhibition of Rev action by SF2/ASF are abrogated by mutation of the N-terminal RNA recognition motif but are not affected by mutation of the C-terminal arginine-serine-rich domain. These findings suggest that Rev inhibition of HIV splicing likely involves recruitment of the essential splicing factor SF2/ASF to the Rev/RRE complex. However, these inhibitory effects of Rev on viral RNA splicing are apparently overcome by augmenting the intracellular levels of SF2/ASF expression.

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