Intron-containing mRNAs are subject to restricted nuclear export in higher eukaryotes. Retroviral replication requires the nucleocytoplasmic transport of both spliced and unspliced RNA transcripts, and RNA export mechanisms of gammaretroviruses are poorly characterized. Here, we report the involvement of the nuclear export receptor NXF1/TAP in the nuclear export of gammaretroviral RNA transcripts. We identified a conserved cis-acting element in the pol gene of gammaretroviruses, including murine leukemia virus (MLV) and xenotropic murine leukemia virus (XMRV), named the CAE (cytoplasmic accumulation element). The CAE enhanced the cytoplasmic accumulation of viral RNA transcripts and the expression of viral proteins without significantly affecting the stability, splicing, or translation efficiency of the transcripts. Insertion of the CAE sequence also facilitated Rev-independent HIV Gag expression. We found that the CAE sequence interacted with NXF1, whereas disruption of NXF1 ablated CAE function. Thus, the CAE sequence mediates the cytoplasmic accumulation of gammaretroviral transcripts in an NXF1-dependent manner. Disruption of NXF1 expression impaired cytoplasmic accumulations of both spliced and unspliced RNA transcripts of XMRV and MLV, resulting in their nuclear retention or degradation. Thus, our results demonstrate that gammaretroviruses use NXF1 for the cytoplasmic accumulation of both spliced and nonspliced viral RNA transcripts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science