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Virus Res. 2003 Sep;95(1-2):23-33.

Nucleolar-cytoplasmic shuttling of PRRSV nucleocapsid protein: a simple case of molecular mimicry or the complex regulation by nuclear import, nucleolar localization and nuclear export signal sequences.

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Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA.


The order Nidovirales, which includes the arteriviruses and coronaviruses, incorporate a cytoplasmic replication scheme; however, the nucleocapsid (N) protein of several members of this group localizes to the nucleolus suggesting that viral proteins influence nuclear processes during replication. The relatively small, 123 amino acid, N protein of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), an arterivirus, presents an ideal model system for investigating the properties and mechanism of N protein nucleolar localization. The PRRSV N protein is found in both cytoplasmic and nucleolar compartments during infection and after transfection of gene constructs that express N-enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) fusion proteins. Experiments using oligopeptides, truncated polypeptides and amino acid-substituted proteins have identified several domains within PRRSV N protein that participate in nucleo-cytoplasmic shuttling, including a cryptic nuclear localization signal (NLS) called NLS-1, a functional NLS (NLS-2), a nucleolar localization sequence (NoLS), as well as a possible nuclear export signal (NES). The purpose of this paper is to review our current understanding of PRRSV N protein shuttling and propose a shuttling scheme regulated by RNA binding and post-translational modification.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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