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J Virol. 2002 Aug;76(16):8475-84.

Inserting a nuclear targeting signal into a replication-competent Moloney murine leukemia virus affects viral export and is not sufficient for cell cycle-independent infection.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Piscataway 08854, USA.


The effects of inserting reported nuclear localization signals (NLSs) into the Moloney murine leukemia virus (Mo-MuLV) integrase (IN) protein, within a replication-competent viral construct, were studied. In contrast to the virus harboring IN fused to the simian virus 40 (SV40) large T antigen NLS (SV40 NLS) (J. A. Seamon, M. Adams, S. Sengupta, and M. J. Roth, Virology 274:412-419, 2000), a codon-modified SV40 NLS was stably expressed during viral propagation. Incorporation of the codon-modified SV40 NLS into IN, however, altered the packaging of the Gag-Pol precursor in the virus; viral particles contained decreased levels of reverse transcriptase (RT) and IN. In addition, the virus showed delayed kinetics of viral DNA synthesis upon infection. A panel of infectious MuLVs containing alternative IN-NLS fusions was generated and assayed for cell cycle-independent infection. Viral infection with the NLS-tagged proteins, however, remained dependent on passage of the cells through mitosis. This finding has direct implications for engineering murine-based retroviral vectors for gene therapy.

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