[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The positive-strand RNA genome of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) contains an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) in the 5'untranslated region (5'UTR) and structured sequence elements within the 3'UTR, but no poly(A) tail. Employing a limited set of initiation factors, the HCV IRES coordinates the 5'cap-independent assembly of the 43S pre-initiation complex at an internal initiation codon located in the IRES sequence. We have established a Huh7 cell-derived in vitro translation system that shows a 3'UTR-dependent enhancement of 43S pre-initiation complex formation at the HCV IRES. Through the use of tobramycin (Tob)-aptamer affinity chromatography, we identified the Insulin-like growth factor-II mRNA-binding protein 1 (IGF2BP1) as a factor that interacts with both, the HCV 5'UTR and 3'UTR. We report that IGF2BP1 specifically enhances translation at the HCV IRES, but it does not affect 5'cap-dependent translation. RNA interference against IGF2BP1 in HCV replicon RNA-containing Huh7 cells reduces HCV IRES-mediated translation, whereas replication remains unaffected. Interestingly, we found that endogenous IGF2BP1 specifically co-immunoprecipitates with HCV replicon RNA, the ribosomal 40S subunit, and eIF3. Furthermore eIF3 comigrates with IGF2BP1 in 80S ribosomal complexes when a reporter mRNA bearing both the HCV 5'UTR and HCV 3'UTR is translated. Our data suggest that IGF2BP1, by binding to the HCV 5'UTR and/or HCV 3'UTR, recruits eIF3 and enhances HCV IRES-mediated translation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Unraveling the molecular basis of the life cycle of hepatitis C virus (HCV), a prevalent agent of human liver disease, entails the identification of cell-encoded factors that participate in the replication of the viral RNA genome. This study provides evidence that the so-called NF/NFAR proteins, namely, NF90/NFAR-1, NF110/NFAR-2, NF45, and RNA helicase A (RHA), which mostly belong to the dsRBM protein family, are involved in the HCV RNA replication process. NF/NFAR proteins were shown to specifically bind to replication signals in the HCV genomic 5' and 3' termini and to promote the formation of a looplike structure of the viral RNA. In cells containing replicating HCV RNA, the generally nuclear NF/NFAR proteins accumulate in the cytoplasmic viral replication complexes, and the prototype NFAR protein, NF90/NFAR-1, stably interacts with a viral protein. HCV replication was inhibited in cells where RNAi depleted RHA from the cytoplasm. Likewise, HCV replication was hindered in cells that contained another NF/NFAR protein recruiting virus. The recruitment of NF/NFAR proteins by HCV is assumed to serve two major purposes: to support 5'-3' interactions of the viral RNA for the coordination of viral protein and RNA synthesis and to weaken host-defense mechanisms.