Nuclear export of late HIV-1 mRNAs occurs via a cellular protein export pathway.
The Rev protein of HIV-1 is essential for the nuclear export of incompletely spliced viral mRNAs. This action depends on the mutationally defined Rev activation domain, which both binds the nucleoporin-like human cellular cofactor Rab/hRIP and also functions as a nuclear export signal. Protein kinase inhibitor alpha (PKI) also contains a potent nuclear export signal. However, PKI plays no role in nuclear RNA export and instead induces the nuclear export of a specific protein target, the catalytic subunit of cAMP-dependent protein kinase. Here, it is demonstrated that the nuclear export signal of PKI not only binds the Rab/hRIP cofactor specifically but also can effectively substitute for the Rev activation domain in mediating the nuclear export of HIV-1 mRNAs. We conclude that HIV-1 Rev and PKI act through an identical nuclear export pathway and that Rev, rather than using a dedicated RNA export pathway, is instead acting as an adaptor that allows viral mRNAs to access a cellular protein export pathway.
Fridell, RA; Bogerd, HP; Cullen, BR
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