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EMBO J. 1997 Dec 15;16(24):7500-10.

The constitutive transport element (CTE) of Mason-Pfizer monkey virus (MPMV) accesses a cellular mRNA export pathway.

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Department of Biomolecular Chemistry, 1300 University Avenue, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


The constitutive transport elements (CTEs) of type D retroviruses are cis-acting elements that promote nuclear export of incompletely spliced mRNAs. Unlike the Rev response element (RRE) of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), CTEs depend entirely on factors encoded by the host cell genome. We show that an RNA comprised almost entirely of the CTE of Mason-Pfizer monkey virus (CTE RNA) is exported efficiently from Xenopus oocyte nuclei. The CTE RNA and an RNA containing the RRE of HIV-1 (plus Rev) have little effect on export of one another, demonstrating differences in host cell requirements of these two viral mRNA export pathways. Surprisingly, even very low amounts of CTE RNA block export of normal mRNAs, apparently through the sequestration of cellular mRNA export factors. Export of a CTE-containing lariat occurs when wild-type CTE, but not a mutant form, is inserted into the pre-mRNA. The CTE has two symmetric structures, either of which supports export and the titration of mRNA export factors, but both of which are required for maximal inhibition of mRNA export. Two host proteins bind specifically to the CTE but not to non-functional variants, making these proteins candidates for the sequestered mRNA export factors.

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