UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Contribution of the Nuclear Localization Sequences of Influenza A Nucleoprotein to the Nuclear Import of the Influenza Genome in Infected Cells Nguyen, Nhan L. T.; Wu, Wei; Panté, Nelly

Abstract

Replication of the RNA genome of influenza A virus occurs in the nucleus of infected cells. The influenza nucleoprotein (NP) associated with the viral RNA into ribonucleoprotein complexes (vRNPs) is involved in the nuclear import of the viral genome. NP has two nuclear localization sequences (NLSs), NLS1 and NLS2. Most studies have concentrated on the role of NP’s NLSs using in vitro-assembled or purified vRNPs, which may differ from incoming vRNPs released in the cytoplasm during an infection. Here, we study the contribution of the NP’s NLSs to the nuclear import of vRNPs in a cell culture model system for influenza infection: human lung carcinoma cells infected with viruses containing NP-carrying mutations in NLS1 or NLS2 (NLS2MT), generated by reverse genetics. We found that cells infected with these mutant viruses were defective in the nuclear import of incoming vRNPs and produced reduced amounts of newly synthesized NP, newly assembled vRNP, and progeny virus. In addition, NLS2MT-infected cells were also defective in the nucleolar accumulation of NP, confirming the nucleolar localization role of NLS2. Our findings indicate that both NLS1 and NLS2 have to be present for successful infection and demonstrate the crucial role of these two NLSs in the infection cycle of the influenza A virus.

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