The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 Rev and human T-cell leukemia virus type I Rex proteins induce cytoplasmic expression of incompletely spliced viral mRNAs by binding to these mRNAs in the nucleus. Each protein binds a specific cis-acting element in its target RNAs. Both proteins also associate with nucleoli, but the significance of this association is uncertain because mutations that inactivate nucleolar localization signals in Rev or Rex also prevent RNA binding. Here we demonstrate that Rev and Rex can function when tethered to a heterologous RNA binding site by a bacteriophage protein. Under these conditions, cytoplasmic accumulation of unspliced RNA occurs without the viral response elements, mutations in the RNA binding domain of Rev do not inhibit function, and nucleolar localization can be shown to be unnecessary for the biological response.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science