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PLoS Pathog. 2011 Nov;7(11):e1002397. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002397. Epub 2011 Nov 17.

The splicing factor proline-glutamine rich (SFPQ/PSF) is involved in influenza virus transcription.

Author information

1
Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, CSIC, Campus de Cantoblanco, Madrid, Spain.

Abstract

The influenza A virus RNA polymerase is a heterotrimeric complex responsible for viral genome transcription and replication in the nucleus of infected cells. We recently carried out a proteomic analysis of purified polymerase expressed in human cells and identified a number of polymerase-associated cellular proteins. Here we characterise the role of one such host factors, SFPQ/PSF, during virus infection. Down-regulation of SFPQ/PSF by silencing with two independent siRNAs reduced the virus yield by 2-5 log in low-multiplicity infections, while the replication of unrelated viruses as VSV or Adenovirus was almost unaffected. As the SFPQ/PSF protein is frequently associated to NonO/p54, we tested the potential implication of the latter in influenza virus replication. However, down-regulation of NonO/p54 by silencing with two independent siRNAs did not affect virus yields. Down-regulation of SFPQ/PSF by siRNA silencing led to a reduction and delay of influenza virus gene expression. Immunofluorescence analyses showed a good correlation between SFPQ/PSF and NP levels in infected cells. Analysis of virus RNA accumulation in silenced cells showed that production of mRNA, cRNA and vRNA is reduced by more than 5-fold but splicing is not affected. Likewise, the accumulation of viral mRNA in cicloheximide-treated cells was reduced by 3-fold. In contrast, down-regulation of SFPQ/PSF in a recombinant virus replicon system indicated that, while the accumulation of viral mRNA is reduced by 5-fold, vRNA levels are slightly increased. In vitro transcription of recombinant RNPs generated in SFPQ/PSF-silenced cells indicated a 4-5-fold reduction in polyadenylation but no alteration in cap snatching. These results indicate that SFPQ/PSF is a host factor essential for influenza virus transcription that increases the efficiency of viral mRNA polyadenylation and open the possibility to develop new antivirals targeting the accumulation of primary transcripts, a very early step during infection.

PMID:
22114566
PMCID:
PMC3219729
DOI:
10.1371/journal.ppat.1002397
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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