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Rajendra Kumar, P. and Singhal, P.K. and Vinod, S.S. and Mahalingam, S. (2003) A Non-canonical Transferable Signal Mediates Nuclear Import of Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Vpx Protein. Journal of Molecular Biology, 331 (5). pp. 1141-1156. ISSN 0022-2836

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Protein transport into the nucleus is generally considered to involve specific nuclear localization signals (NLS) though it is becoming increasingly evident that efficient and well controlled import of proteins which lack a canonical NLS also occurs in cells. Vpx, a 112 amino acid protein from human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2) and the closely related simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) is one such protein, which does not have an identifiable canonical NLS and is yet efficiently imported to the nuclear compartment. Here we report that Vpx protein is imported to the nucleus independently of virus-encoded cofactors. When fusions of truncated versions of Vpx with full-length beta-galactosidase (beta-Gal) were tested, the region from Vpx 61 to 80 was found to be sufficient to mediate the import of the heterologous cytoplasmic protein to the nucleus. Inactivation of Vpx NLS precluded nuclear import of Vpx and reduced virus replication in non-dividing macrophage cultures, even when functional integrase and Gag matrix proteins implicated in viral nuclear import were present. Importantly, we identified and characterized a novel type of 20 amino acid transferable nuclear import signal in Vpx that is distinct from other import signals described. In addition, we show that the minimal nuclear targeting domain identified here overlaps with helical domain III (amino acid (aa) 64-82) and the structural integrity of this helical motif is critical for the nuclear import of Vpx. Taken together, these data suggest that Vpx is imported to the nucleus via a novel import pathway that is dependent on its 20 amino acid unique nuclear targeting signal, and that the nuclear import property of Vpx is critical for the optimal virus replication in non-dividing cells such as macrophages.

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: Dr P Divakar
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2015 05:48
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2015 05:48
URI: http://cdfd.sciencecentral.in/id/eprint/542

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