Retroviruses utilize an unspliced version of their primary transcription product as an RNA template for synthesis of viral Gag and Pol structural and enzymatic proteins. Cytoplasmic expression of the gag-pol RNA is achieved despite the lack of intron removal and the presence of a long and highly structured 5′ untranslated region that inhibits efficient ribosome scanning. In this study, we have identified for the first time that the 5′ long terminal repeat (LTR) of Mason-Pfizer monkey virus (MPMV) facilitates Rev/Rev-responsive element-independent expression of HIV-1 gag-pol reporter RNA. The MPMV RU5 region of the LTR is necessary and directs functional interaction with cellular posttranscriptional modulators present in human 293 and monkey COS cells but not in quail QT-6 cells and does not require any viral protein. Deletion of MPMV RU5 decreases the abundance of spliced mRNA but has little effect on cytoplasmic accumulation of unspliced gag-pol RNA despite complete elimination of detectable Gag protein production. MPMV RU5 also exerts a positive effect on the cytoplasmic expression of intronless luc RNA, and ribosomal profile analysis demonstrates that MPMV RU5 directs subcellular localization of the luc transcript to polyribosomes. Our findings have a number of similarities with those of reports on 5′ terminal posttranscriptional control elements in spleen necrosis virus and human foamy virus RNA and support the model that divergent retroviruses share 5′ terminal RNA elements that interact with host proteins to program retroviral RNA for productive cytoplasmic expression.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of virology|
|State||Published - Oct 2002|