Influence of gag and RRE Sequences on HIV-1 RNA Packaging Signal Structure and Function.
ABSTRACT: The packaging signal (?) and Rev-responsive element (RRE) enable unspliced HIV-1 RNAs' export from the nucleus and packaging into virions. For some retroviruses, engrafting ? onto a heterologous RNA is sufficient to direct encapsidation. In contrast, HIV-1 RNA packaging requires 5' leader ? elements plus poorly defined additional features. We previously defined minimal 5' leader sequences competitive with intact ? for HIV-1 packaging, and here examined the potential roles of additional downstream elements. The findings confirmed that together, HIV-1 5' leader ? sequences plus a nuclear export element are sufficient to specify packaging. However, RNAs trafficked using a heterologous export element did not compete well with RNAs using HIV-1's RRE. Furthermore, some RNA additions to well-packaged minimal vectors rendered them packaging-defective. These defects were rescued by extending gag sequences in their native context. To understand these packaging defects' causes, in vitro dimerization properties of RNAs containing minimal packaging elements were compared to RNAs with sequence extensions that were or were not compatible with packaging. In vitro dimerization was found to correlate with packaging phenotypes, suggesting that HIV-1 evolved to prevent 5' leader residues' base pairing with downstream residues and misfolding of the packaging signal. Our findings explain why gag sequences have been implicated in packaging and show that RRE's packaging contributions appear more specific than nuclear export alone. Paired with recent work showing that sequences upstream of ? can dictate RNA folds, the current work explains how genetic context of minimal packaging elements contributes to HIV-1 RNA fate determination.
Project description:The process of HIV-1 genomic RNA (gRNA) encapsidation is governed by a number of viral encoded components, most notably the Gag protein and gRNA cis elements in the canonical packaging signal (?). Also implicated in encapsidation are cis determinants in the R, U5, and PBS (primer binding site) from the 5' untranslated region (UTR). Although conventionally associated with nuclear export of HIV-1 RNA, there is a burgeoning role for the Rev/RRE in the encapsidation process. Pleiotropic effects exhibited by these cis and trans viral components may confound the ability to examine their independent, and combined, impact on encapsidation of RNA into HIV-1 viral particles in their innate viral context. We systematically reconstructed the HIV-1 packaging system in the context of a heterologous murine leukemia virus (MLV) vector RNA to elucidate a mechanism in which the Rev/RRE system is central to achieving efficient and specific encapsidation into HIV-1 viral particles.We show for the first time that the Rev/RRE system can augment RNA encapsidation independent of all cis elements from the 5' UTR (R, U5, PBS, and ?). Incorporation of all the 5' UTR cis elements did not enhance RNA encapsidation in the absence of the Rev/RRE system. In fact, we demonstrate that the Rev/RRE system is required for specific and efficient encapsidation commonly associated with the canonical packaging signal. The mechanism of Rev/RRE-mediated encapsidation is not a general phenomenon, since the combination of the Rev/RRE system and 5' UTR cis elements did not enhance encapsidation into MLV-derived viral particles. Lastly, we show that heterologous MLV RNAs conform to transduction properties commonly associated with HIV-1 viral particles, including in vivo transduction of non-dividing cells (i.e. mouse neurons); however, the cDNA forms are episomes predominantly in the 1-LTR circle form.Premised on encapsidation of a heterologous RNA into HIV-1 viral particles, our findings define a functional HIV-1 packaging system as comprising the 5' UTR cis elements, Gag, and the Rev/RRE system, in which the Rev/RRE system is required to make the RNA amenable to the ensuing interaction between Gag and the canonical packaging signal for subsequent encapsidation.
Project description:Post-transcriptional regulation of HIV-1 gene expression is mediated by interactions between viral transcripts and viral/cellular proteins. For HIV-1, post-transcriptional nuclear control allows for the export of intron-containing RNAs which are normally retained in the nucleus. Specific signals on the viral RNAs, such as instability sequences (INS) and Rev responsive element (RRE), are binding sites for viral and cellular factors that serve to regulate RNA-export. The HIV-1 encoded viral Rev protein binds to the RRE found on unspliced and incompletely spliced viral RNAs. Binding by Rev directs the export of these RNAs from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. Previously, Rev co-factors have been found to include cellular factors such as CRM1, DDX3, PIMT and others. In this work, the nuclear matrix protein Matrin 3 is shown to bind Rev/RRE-containing viral RNA. This binding interaction stabilizes unspliced and partially spliced HIV-1 transcripts leading to increased cytoplasmic expression of these viral RNAs.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>During the RNA encapsidation process of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) viral genomic, unspliced RNA (gRNA) is preferentially incorporated into assembling virions. However, a certain amount of spliced viral transcripts can also be detected in viral particles. Recently, we observed that nuclear export of HIV and lentiviral vector gRNA by Rev is required for efficient encapsidation. Since singly-spliced HIV transcripts also contain the Rev-response element (RRE), we investigated if the encapsidation efficiency of RRE-containing spliced HIV-vector transcripts is also increased by the viral Rev protein.<h4>Findings</h4>Starting with a lentiviral vector imitating the splicing pattern of HIV, we constructed vectors that express an unspliced transcript either identical in sequence to the singly-spliced or the fully-spliced RNA of the parental construct. After transfection of the different lentiviral vectors cytoplasmic and virion-associated RNA levels and vector titers were determined in the presence and absence of Rev. Rev enhanced the infectious titer of vectors containing an RRE 6 to 37-fold. Furthermore, Rev strongly increased encapsidation efficiencies of all RRE-containing transcripts up to 200-fold. However, a good correlation between encapsidation efficiency and lentiviral vector titer could only be observed for the gRNA. The infectious titer of the vector encoding the fully-spliced RNA without RRE as well as the encapsidation efficiency of all transcripts lacking the RRE was not influenced by Rev. Interestingly, the splicing process itself did not seem to interfere with packaging, since the encapsidation efficiencies of the same RNA expressed either by splicing or as an unspliced transcript did not differ significantly.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Rev-mediated nuclear export enhances the encapsidation efficiency of RRE-containing lentiviral vector RNAs independently of whether they have been spliced or not.
Project description:The main function attributed to the Rev proteins of immunodeficiency viruses is the shuttling of viral RNAs containing the Rev responsive element (RRE) via the CRM-1 export pathway from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. This restricts expression of structural proteins to the late phase of the lentiviral replication cycle. Using Rev-independent gag-pol expression plasmids of HIV-1 and simian immunodeficiency virus and lentiviral vector constructs, we have observed that HIV-1 and simian immunodeficiency virus Rev enhanced RNA encapsidation 20- to 70-fold, correlating well with the effect of Rev on vector titers. In contrast, cytoplasmic vector RNA levels were only marginally affected by Rev. Binding of Rev to the RRE or to a heterologous RNA element was required for Rev-mediated enhancement of RNA encapsidation. In addition to specific interactions of nucleocapsid with the packaging signal at the 5' end of the genome, the Rev/RRE system provides a second mechanism contributing to preferential encapsidation of genomic lentiviral RNA.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Central to the fully competent replication cycle of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is the nuclear export of unspliced and partially spliced RNAs mediated by the Rev posttranscriptional activator and the Rev response element (RRE). RESULTS: Here, we introduce a novel method to explore the proteome associated with the nuclear HIV-1 RNAs. At the core of the method is the generation of cell lines harboring an integrated provirus carrying RNA binding sites for the MS2 bacteriophage protein. Flag-tagged MS2 is then used for affinity purification of the viral RNA. By this approach we found that the viral RNA is associated with the host nuclear matrix component MATR3 (Matrin 3) and that its modulation affected Rev activity. Knockdown of MATR3 suppressed Rev/RRE function in the export of unspliced HIV-1 RNAs. However, MATR3 was able to associate with Rev only through the presence of RRE-containing viral RNA. CONCLUSIONS: In this work, we exploited a novel proteomic method to identify MATR3 as a cellular cofactor of Rev activity. MATR3 binds viral RNA and is required for the Rev/RRE mediated nuclear export of unspliced HIV-1 RNAs.
Project description:The HIV Rev protein routes viral RNAs containing the Rev Response Element (RRE) through the Crm1 nuclear export pathway to the cytoplasm where viral proteins are expressed and genomic RNA is delivered to assembling virions. The RRE assembles a Rev oligomer that displays nuclear export sequences (NESs) for recognition by the Crm1-Ran(GTP) nuclear receptor complex. Here we provide the first view of an assembled HIV-host nuclear export complex using single-particle electron microscopy. Unexpectedly, Crm1 forms a dimer with an extensive interface that enhances association with Rev-RRE and poises NES binding sites to interact with a Rev oligomer. The interface between Crm1 monomers explains differences between Crm1 orthologs that alter nuclear export and determine cellular tropism for viral replication. The arrangement of the export complex identifies a novel binding surface to possibly target an HIV inhibitor and may point to a broader role for Crm1 dimerization in regulating host gene expression.
Project description:Retroviruses encode cis-acting RNA nuclear export elements that override nuclear retention of intron-containing viral mRNAs including the full-length, unspliced genomic RNAs (gRNAs) packaged into assembling virions. The HIV-1 Rev-response element (RRE) recruits the cellular nuclear export receptor CRM1 (also known as exportin-1/XPO1) using the viral protein Rev, while simple retroviruses encode constitutive transport elements (CTEs) that directly recruit components of the NXF1(Tap)/NXT1(p15) mRNA nuclear export machinery. How gRNA nuclear export is linked to trafficking machineries in the cytoplasm upstream of virus particle assembly is unknown. Here we used long-term (>24 h), multicolor live cell imaging to directly visualize HIV-1 gRNA nuclear export, translation, cytoplasmic trafficking, and virus particle production in single cells. We show that the HIV-1 RRE regulates unique, en masse, Rev- and CRM1-dependent "burst-like" transitions of mRNAs from the nucleus to flood the cytoplasm in a non-localized fashion. By contrast, the CTE derived from Mason-Pfizer monkey virus (M-PMV) links gRNAs to microtubules in the cytoplasm, driving them to cluster markedly to the centrosome that forms the pericentriolar core of the microtubule-organizing center (MTOC). Adding each export element to selected heterologous mRNAs was sufficient to confer each distinct export behavior, as was directing Rev/CRM1 or NXF1/NXT1 transport modules to mRNAs using a site-specific RNA tethering strategy. Moreover, multiple CTEs per transcript enhanced MTOC targeting, suggesting that a cooperative mechanism links NXF1/NXT1 to microtubules. Combined, these results reveal striking, unexpected features of retroviral gRNA nucleocytoplasmic transport and demonstrate roles for mRNA export elements that extend beyond nuclear pores to impact gRNA distribution in the cytoplasm.
Project description:The use of RNA transport elements from different viruses can provide novel attributes to HIV-1-based gene delivery systems such as improved safety or Rev independence. We previously described an HIV-1 based gene delivery system that utilized the simian immunodeficiency virus Rev-response element (RRE) in place of the HIV-1 RRE. Despite the use of Rev for the production of vector stocks, we showed the utility of this system for delivery of Rev M10, a dominant-negative mutant of HIV-1 Rev, into T-cells. Here, we investigated the use of RNA transport elements from Mason-Pfizer monkey virus or MPMV for the creation of high-titered Rev-free HIV-1-based packaging systems. The HIV-1 gag/pol expression constructs containing one or more copies of MPMV constitutive RNA transport element (CTE) were used to package similarly modified gene-transfer vectors in the presence or absence of Rev. An inverse correlation between the number of CTE modules and Rev dependency was noted for vector stock production. While packaging systems containing multiple CTEs were resistant to exogenously expressed Rev M10, the titers of vectors encoding Rev M10 were nevertheless reduced in comparison to vectors encoding only green fluorescent protein (GFP). In contrast, a gene transfer vector encoding the Rev M10 transgene and containing both RNA transport elements exhibited almost no loss in titer in comparison to a corresponding vector encoding only GFP. The optimized Rev-independent gene delivery system was used for delivery of Rev M10 transgene into T-lymphocytes. Upon challenge in single round infection assays with HIV-1, the modified T-cells produced fewer virus particles than control cells expressing GFP. This Rev-free packaging system may prove useful for targeting the Rev-RRE-Crm1 nucleocytoplasmic RNA transport pathway for inhibiting HIV replication.
Project description:The HIV-1 protein Rev controls a critical step in viral replication by mediating the nuclear export of unspliced and singly-spliced viral mRNAs. Multiple Rev subunits assemble on the Rev Response Element (RRE), a structured region present in these RNAs, and direct their export through the Crm1 pathway. Rev-RRE assembly occurs via several Rev oligomerization and RNA-binding steps, but how these steps are coordinated to form an export-competent complex is unclear. Here, we report the first crystal structure of a Rev dimer-RRE complex, revealing a dramatic rearrangement of the Rev-dimer upon RRE binding through re-packing of its hydrophobic protein-protein interface. Rev-RNA recognition relies on sequence-specific contacts at the well-characterized IIB site and local RNA architecture at the second site. The structure supports a model in which the RRE utilizes the inherent plasticity of Rev subunit interfaces to guide the formation of a functional complex.
Project description:Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and all other lentiviruses utilize the essential viral protein Rev, which binds to RRE RNA, to export their unspliced and partially spliced mRNAs from the nucleus. We used a rev- and RRE-defective HIV type 1 (HIV-1) molecular clone in complementation experiments to establish a method for the rapid isolation of posttranscriptional regulatory elements from the mammalian genome by selecting for rescue of virus replication. Viruses rescued by this method contained a novel element with homology to rodent intracisternal A-particle (IAP) retroelements. A functional element was contained within a 247-nucleotide fragment named RNA transport element (RTE), which was able to promote replication of the Rev- and RRE-defective HIV-1 in both human lymphoid cell lines and primary lymphocytes, demonstrating its potent posttranscriptional function. RTE was functional in many cell types, indicating that the cellular factors that recognize RTE are widely expressed and evolutionarily conserved. RTE also promoted RNA export from Xenopus oocyte nuclei. RTE-mediated RNA transport was CRM1 independent, and RTE did not show high affinity for binding to mRNA export factor TAP/NXF1. Since CRM1 and TAP/NXF1 are critical export receptors associated with the two recognized mRNA export pathways, these results suggest that RTE functions via a distinct export mechanism. Taken together, our results identify a novel posttranscriptional control element that uses a conserved cellular export mechanism.