The tripartite leader sequence of subgroup C adenovirus major late mRNAs can increase the efficiency of mRNA export.

Date Published:

1998 Jan




The subgroup C human adenoviruses induce selective export of newly synthesized viral mRNA from the nucleus to the cytoplasm, with concomitant inhibition of export of the majority of cellular mRNA species. Such posttranscriptional regulation of viral and cellular gene expression in infected cells requires viral E1B and E4 proteins. To facilitate the investigation of parameters that govern selective export in adenovirus-infected cells, we constructed a marked human beta-actin minigene under the control of the glucocorticoid-inducible enhancer-promoter of mouse mammary tumor virus and introduced it into the left end of the adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) genome. Transcription of this reporter gene (designated MA) as well as of a sibling, which differed only in the inclusion of a cDNA copy of the Ad2 major late tripartite leader sequence upstream of beta-actin sequences (termed MtplA), in recombinant virus-infected cells was strictly dependent on the addition of dexamethasone to the medium. When transcription of the MA gene was induced during the late phase of infection, newly synthesized MA RNA entered the cytoplasm. These transcripts, which contain no viral sequences, therefore reproduce the behavior of exceptional cellular mRNA species observed when transcription of their genes is activated during the late phase of infection (U.-C. Yang, W. Huang, and S. J. Flint, J. Virol. 70:4071-4080, 1996). Unexpectedly, however, higher concentrations of newly synthesized RNA accumulated in the cytoplasm when the tripartite leader sequence was present in the reporter RNA, despite equal rates of transcription of the two reporter genes. Examination of the partitioning of both newly synthesized and steady-state populations of MA and MtplA RNAs between nuclear and cytoplasmic compartments indicated that the tripartite leader sequence did not increase RNA stability in the cytoplasm. Comparison of nuclear and cytoplasmic reporter RNA species by Northern blotting, primer extension, and reverse transcription-PCR provided no evidence for altered processing induced by the tripartite leader sequence. We therefore conclude that the tripartite leader sequence, long known to facilitate the translation of mRNAs during the late phase of adenovirus infection, can also modulate mRNA export from the nucleus.

Alternate Journal:

J. Virol.
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