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Traffic. 2006 Sep;7(9):1177-93.

Trafficking of HIV-1 RNA is mediated by heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A2 expression and impacts on viral assembly.

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HIV-1 RNA Trafficking Laboratory, 3755 Côte-Ste-Catherine Road, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3T 1E2.


Few details are known about how the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) genomic RNA is trafficked in the cytoplasm. Part of this process is controlled by the activity of heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A2 (hnRNP A2). The role of hnRNP A2 during the expression of a bona fide provirus in HeLa cells is investigated in this study. Using immunofluorescence and fluorescence in situ hybridization techniques, we show that knockdown of hnRNP A2 expression in HIV-1-expressing cells results in the rapid accumulation of HIV-1 genomic RNA in a distinct, cytoplasmic space that corresponds to the microtubule-organizing center (MTOC). The RNA exits in the nucleus and accumulates at the MTOC region as a result of hnRNP A2 knockdown even during the expression of a provirus harboring mutations in the hnRNP A2-response element (A2RE), the expression of which results in nuclear retention of genomic RNA. We also demonstrate that hnRNP A2 expression is required for downstream trafficking of genomic RNA from the MTOC in the cytoplasm. Genomic RNA localization at the MTOC that was both the result of hnRNP A2 knockdown and the overexpression of Rab7-interacting lysosomal protein had little effect on pr55Gag synthesis but negatively influenced virus production and infectivity. These data indicate that altered HIV-1 genomic RNA localization modulates viral assembly and that the MTOC serves as a central site to which HIV-1 genomic RNA converges following its exit from the nucleus, with the host protein, hnRNP A2, playing a central role in taking it to and from this site in the cell.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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