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Biochimie. 1996;78(11-12):1075-80.

A role for Rev in the association of HIV-1 gag mRNA with cytoskeletal beta-actin and viral protein expression.

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Department of Microbiology, Kansai Medical University, Osaka, Japan.


Human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) Rev acts by inducing the specific nucleocytoplasmic transport of a class of incompletely spliced RNAs that encodes the viral structural proteins. The transfection of HeLa cells with a rev-defective HIV-1 expression plasmid, however, resulted in the export of overexpressed, intron-containing species of viral RNAs, possibly through a default process of nuclear retention. Thus, this system enabled us to directly compare Rev+ and Rev+ cells as to the usage of RRE-containing mRNAs by the cellular translational machinery. Biochemical examination of the transfected cells revealed that although significant levels of gag and env mRNAs were detected in both the presence and absence of Rev, efficient production of viral proteins was strictly dependent on the presence of Rev. A fluorescence in situ hybridisation assay confirmed these findings and provided further evidence that even in the presence of Rev, not all of the viral mRNA was equally translated. At the early phase of RNA export in Rev+ cells, gag mRNA was observed throughout both the cytoplasm and nucleoplasm as uniform fine stippling. In addition, the mRNA formed clusters mainly in the perinuclear region, which were not observed in Rev+ cells. In the presence of Rev, expression of the gag protein was limited to these perinuclear sites where the mRNA accumulated. Subsequent staining of the cytoskeletal proteins demonstrated that in Rev+ cells gag mRNA is colocalized with beta-actin in the sites where the RNA formed clusters. In the absence of Rev, in contrast, the gag mRNA failed to associate with the cytoskeletal proteins. These results suggest that in addition to promoting the emergence of intron-containing RNA from the nucleus, Rev plays an important role in the compartmentation of translation by directing RRE-containing mRNAs to the beta-actin to form the perinuclear clusters at which the synthesis of viral structural proteins begins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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