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PLoS Pathog. 2014 May 29;10(5):e1004162. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004162. eCollection 2014 May.

Large scale RNAi reveals the requirement of nuclear envelope breakdown for nuclear import of human papillomaviruses.

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Emmy-Noether Group: Virus Endocytosis, Institutes of Molecular Virology and Medical Biochemistry, ZMBE, University of Münster, Münster, Germany; Cluster of Excellence EXC1003, Cells in Motion, Münster, Germany.
Institute of Molecular Life Sciences, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
Institute of Biochemistry, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
Laboratory of Cellular Oncology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America.
Laboratoire de Microbiologie Fondamentale et Pathogénicité, Université Bordeaux Segalen, Bordeaux, France.


A two-step, high-throughput RNAi silencing screen was used to identify host cell factors required during human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) infection. Analysis of validated hits implicated a cluster of mitotic genes and revealed a previously undetermined mechanism for import of the viral DNA (vDNA) into the nucleus. In interphase cells, viruses were endocytosed, routed to the perinuclear area, and uncoated, but the vDNA failed to be imported into the nucleus. Upon nuclear envelope perforation in interphase cells HPV16 infection occured. During mitosis, the vDNA and L2 associated with host cell chromatin on the metaphase plate. Hence, we propose that HPV16 requires nuclear envelope breakdown during mitosis for access of the vDNA to the nucleoplasm. The results accentuate the value of genes found by RNAi screens for investigation of viral infections. The list of cell functions required during HPV16 infection will, moreover, provide a resource for future virus-host cell interaction studies.

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