PloS one

HuR and Ago2 Bind the Internal Ribosome Entry Site of Enterovirus 71 and Promote Virus Translation and Replication.

PMID 26451954


EV71 (enterovirus 71) RNA contains an internal ribosomal entry site (IRES) that directs cap-independent initiation of translation. IRES-dependent translation requires the host's translation initiation factors and IRES-associated trans-acting factors (ITAFs). We reported recently that mRNA decay factor AUF1 is a negative-acting ITAF that binds IRES stem-loop II. We also reported that the small RNA-processing enzyme Dicer produces at least four small RNAs (vsRNAs) from the EV71 IRES. One of these, vsRNA1, derived from IRES stem-loop II, reduces IRES activity and virus replication. Since its mechanism of action is unknown, we hypothesized that it might control association of ITAFs with the IRES. Here, we identified the mRNA stability factor HuR and the RISC subunit Argonaute 2 (Ago2) as two ITAFs that bind stem-loop II. In contrast to AUF1, HuR and Ago2 promote EV71 IRES activity and virus replication. In vitro RNA-binding assays revealed that vsRNA1 can alter association of Ago2, HuR, and AUF1 with stem-loop II. This presents a possible mechanism by which vsRNA1 could control viral translation and replication.