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Exploring New Functional Aspects of HTLV-1 RNA-Binding Protein Rex: How Does Rex Control Viral Replication?

Viruses (2022-02-27)
Kazumi Nakano, Koichi Yokoyama, Shuichi Shin, Koki Uchida, Kazuki Tsuji, Marie Tanaka, Kaoru Uchimaru, Toshiki Watanabe
ABSTRACT

After integration to the human genome as a provirus, human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) utilizes host T cell gene expression machinery for viral replication. The viral RNA-binding protein, Rex, is known to transport unspliced/incompletely spliced viral mRNAs encoding viral structural proteins out of the nucleus to enhance virus particle formation. However, the detailed mechanism of how Rex avoids extra splicing of unspliced/incompletely spliced viral mRNAs and stabilizes them for effective translation is still unclear. To elucidate the underlying molecular mechanism of Rex function, we comprehensively analyzed the changes in gene expression and splicing patterns in Rex-overexpressing T cells. In addition, we identified 81 human proteins interacting with Rex, involved in transcription, splicing, translation, and mRNA quality control. In particular, Rex interacts with NONO and SFPQ, which play important roles in the regulation of transcription and splicing. Accordingly, expression profiles and splicing patterns of a wide variety of genes are significantly changed in Rex-expressing T cells. Especially, the level of vPD-L1 mRNA that lacks the part of exon 4, thus encodes soluble PD-L1 was significantly increased in Rex-expressing cells. Overall, by integrated analysis of these three datasets, we showed for the first time that Rex intervenes the host gene expression machinery throughout the pathway, probably to escort viral unstable mRNAs from transcription (start) to translation (end). Upon exerting its function, Rex may alter the expression level and splicing patterns of various genes, thus influencing the phenotype of the host cell.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
Anti-p54nrb/NonO Antibody, clone 78-1-C6, clone 78-1-C6, Upstate®, from mouse