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Virus Res. 2003 Sep;95(1-2):75-85.

The interaction of cytoplasmic RNA viruses with the nucleus.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, UCLA School of Medicine, The University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.

Erratum in

  • Virus Res. 2004 Jan;99(1):101.


Mammalian cells infected with poliovirus, the prototype member of the picornaviridae family, undergo rapid macromolecular and metabolic changes resulting in efficient replication and release of virus from infected cells. Although this virus is predominantly cytoplasmic, it does shut-off transcription of all three cellular transcription systems. Both biochemical and genetic studies have shown that a virally encoded protease, 3C(pro), is responsible for host cell transcription shut-off. The 3C protease cleaves a number of RNA polymerase II transcription factors including the TATA-binding protein (TBP), the cyclic AMP-responsive element binding protein (CREB), the Octamer binding protein (Oct-1), p53, and RNA polymerase III transcription factor IIICalpha, and Polymerase I factor SL-1. Most of these cleavages occur at glutamine-glycine bonds. Additionally, a second viral protease, 2A(pro), also cleaves TBP at a tyrosine-glycine bond. The latter cleavage could be responsible for shut-off of small nuclear RNA transcription. Recent studies indicate that the viral protease-polymerase precursor 3CD can enter nucleus in poliovirus-infected cells. The nuclear localization signal (NLS) present within the 3D sequence appears to play a role in the nuclear entry of 3CD. Thus, 3C may be delivered to the infected cell nucleus in the form the precursor 3CD or other 3C-containing precursors. Auto-proteolytic cleavage of these precursors could then generate 3C. Thus, for a small RNA virus that strictly replicates in the cytoplasm, a portion of its life cycle does include interaction with the host cell nucleus.

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