[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Gag polyproteins play distinct roles during the replication cycle of retroviruses, hijacking many cellular machineries to fulfill them. In the case of the prototype foamy virus (PFV), Gag structural proteins undergo transient nuclear trafficking after their synthesis, returning back to the cytoplasm for capsid assembly and virus egress. The functional role of this nuclear stage as well as the molecular mechanism(s) responsible for Gag nuclear export are not understood.
We have identified a leptomycin B (LMB)-sensitive nuclear export sequence (NES) within the N-terminus of PFV Gag that is absolutely required for the completion of late stages of virus replication. Point mutations of conserved residues within this motif lead to nuclear redistribution of Gag, preventing subsequent virus egress. We have shown that a NES-defective PFV Gag acts as a dominant negative mutant by sequestrating its wild-type counterpart in the nucleus. Trans-complementation experiments with the heterologous NES of HIV-1 Rev allow the cytoplasmic redistribution of FV Gag, but fail to restore infectivity.
PFV Gag-Gag interactions are finely tuned in the cytoplasm to regulate their functions, capsid assembly, and virus release. In the nucleus, we have shown Gag-Gag interactions which could be involved in the nuclear export of Gag and viral RNA. We propose that nuclear export of unspliced and partially spliced PFV RNAs relies on two complementary mechanisms, which take place successively during the replication cycle.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Each of the pathogenic human retroviruses (HIV-1/2 and HTLV-1) has a nonhuman primate counterpart, and the presence of these retroviruses in humans results from interspecies transmission. The passage of another simian retrovirus, simian foamy virus (SFV), from apes or monkeys to humans has been reported. Mandrillus sphinx, a monkey species living in central Africa, is naturally infected with SFV. We evaluated the natural history of the virus in a free-ranging colony of mandrills and investigated possible transmission of mandrill SFV to humans.
We studied 84 semi-free-ranging captive mandrills at the Primate Centre of the Centre International de Recherches Médicales de Franceville (Gabon) and 15 wild mandrills caught in various areas of the country. The presence of SFV was also evaluated in 20 people who worked closely with mandrills and other nonhuman primates. SFV infection was determined by specific serological (Western blot) and molecular (nested PCR of the integrase region in the polymerase gene) assays. Seropositivity for SFV was found in 70/84 (83%) captive and 9/15 (60%) wild-caught mandrills and in 2/20 (10%) humans. The 425-bp SFV integrase fragment was detected in peripheral blood DNA from 53 captive and 8 wild-caught mandrills and in two personnel. Sequence and phylogenetic studies demonstrated the presence of two distinct strains of mandrill SFV, one clade including SFVs from mandrills living in the northern part of Gabon and the second consisting of SFV from animals living in the south. One man who had been bitten 10 years earlier by a mandrill and another bitten 22 years earlier by a macaque were found to be SFV infected, both at the Primate Centre. The second man had a sequence close to SFVmac sequences. Comparative sequence analysis of the virus from the first man and from the mandrill showed nearly identical sequences, indicating genetic stability of SFV over time.
Our results show a high prevalence of SFV infection in a semi-free-ranging colony of mandrills, with the presence of two different strains. We also showed transmission of SFV from a mandrill and a macaque to humans.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although viral RNA constitutes the majority of nucleic acids packaged in virions, a late occurring step of reverse transcription leads to the presence of infectious viral cDNA in foamy virus particles. This peculiarity distinguishes them from the rest of the retroviral family.
To evaluate the respective contribution of these viral nucleic acids in the replication of foamy viruses, their fate was studied by real-time PCR and RT-PCR early after infection, in the presence or in the absence of AZT. We found that an early reverse transcription step, which occurs during the first hours post-entry, is absolutely required for productive infection. Remarkably, sensitivity to AZT can be counteracted by increasing the multiplicity of infection (moi). We also show that 2-LTR circular viral DNA, which appears as soon as four hours post-infection, is transcriptionally competent.
Taken together, our data demonstrate that an early reverse transcription process, which takes place soon after viral entry, is indispensable for infectivity of FVs at low moi, when the amount of DNA-containing particles is not sufficient to lead to a productive infection. This study demonstrates a key role of the packaged viral RNA in the foamy virus infection, suggesting that the replication of this virus can be achieved by involving either viral DNA or RNA genome, depending on the condition of infection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many cellular and viral proteins and nucleic acids shuttle between the nucleus and the cytoplasm. It is increasingly clear that nuclear import and export involve complex and finely regulated mechanisms. Nuclear export is absolutely necessary for viral protein synthesis and particle assembly for retroviruses showing a nuclear step during their replication cycle. Nuclear export of retroviral components mainly relies on two distinct mechanisms, one involving cellular factors only, and another in which cellular and viral factors cooperate. The study of retrovirus nuclear export contributes significantly to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of nuclear export in general, and may allow the identification of new targets to prevent retrovirus replication.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Constitutive activation of the NF-kappaB pathway by the Tax oncoprotein plays a crucial role in the proliferation and transformation of HTLV-I infected T lymphocytes. We have previously shown that Tax ubiquitylation on C-terminal lysines is critical for binding of Tax to IkappaB kinase (IKK) and its subsequent activation. Here, we report that ubiquitylated Tax is not associated with active cytosolic IKK subunits, but binds endogenous IKK-alpha, -beta, -gamma, targeting them to the centrosome. K63-ubiquitylated Tax colocalizes at the centrosome with IKK-gamma, while K48-ubiquitylated Tax is stabilized upon proteasome inhibition. Altogether, these results support a model in which K63-ubiquitylated Tax activates IKK in a centrosome-associated signalosome, leading to the production of Tax-free active cytoplasmic IKK. These observations highlight an unsuspected link between Tax-induced IKK activation and the centrosome.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Completion of early stages of retrovirus infection depends on the cell cycle. While gammaretroviruses require mitosis for proviral integration, lentiviruses are able to replicate in post-mitotic non-dividing cells. Resting cells such as naive resting T lymphocytes from peripheral blood cannot be productively infected by retroviruses, including lentiviruses, but the molecular basis of this restriction remains poorly understood. We demonstrate that in G0 resting cells (primary fibroblasts or peripheral T cells), incoming foamy retroviruses accumulate in close proximity to the centrosome, where they lie as structured and assembled capsids for several weeks. Under these settings, virus uncoating is impaired, but upon cell stimulation, Gag proteolysis and capsid disassembly occur, which allows viral infection to proceed. The data imply that foamy virus uncoating is the rate-limiting step for productive infection of primary G0 cells. Incoming foamy retroviruses can stably persist at the centrosome, awaiting cell stimulation to initiate capsid cleavage, nuclear import, and viral gene expression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Foamy viruses (FVs) or spumaviruses are complex retroviruses isolated in several mammal species like cats, cattle and horses. Highly prevalent in non-human primates they are not naturally present in humans, although several cases of simian-to-human transmissions have been described. Interestingly, the replication strategy of FVs differs in many aspects from that of other retroviruses, presenting features that are closely related to pararetroviruses, exemplified by the hepatitis B virus (HBV), but also characteristics that are closely related to yeast retrotransposons leding to the creation of the distinct Spumaretrovirina subfamily.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: From the cell surface to the nucleus, retroviruses will face multiple obstacles, crossing physical barriers such as the plasma membrane, but also finding their pathway through a viscous cytoplasm. At the same time, retroviruses have to overcome cellular defenses, interfering with the early steps of the virus life cycle. Although the general outcomes of this journey have been known for several decades, the stepwise interactions taking place between cellular and viral factors, which will transform the incoming viral RNA genome into a double-stranded DNA competent for integration, remain largely unknown. In this sense, the uncoating process and the molecular basis of intracellular trafficking of preintegration complexes are still poorly defined. Additionally, other key stages, which have been the focus of many reports, still require some clarification, as is the case for the precise implication of viral and cellular determinants involved in nuclear import of preintegration complexes.