In eukaryotic cells, the nuclear genome and its transcriptional apparatus is separated from the site of protein synthesis by the nuclear envelope. Thus, a constant flow of proteins and nucleic acids has to cross the nuclear envelope in both directions. This transport in and out of the nucleus is mediated by nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) and occurs in an energy and signal-dependent manner. Thus, nucleocytoplasmic translocation of macro molecules across the nuclear envelope appears to be a highly specific and regulated process. Viruses that replicate their genome in the cell nucleus are therefore forced to develop efficient ways to deal with the intracellulZlr host cell transport machinery. Historically, investigation of Polyomavirus replication allowed identification ofsequences that mediate nuclear import, which led subsequently to our detailed understanding of the cellular factors that are involved in nuclear import. Transport ofmacromolecules in the opposite direction, however, is less well understood. The investigation of retroviral gene expression in recent years pro vided the first insights into the cellular mechanisms that regulate nuclear export. In particular, the detailed dissection of the function of the human immunodeficiency virus type I (HIV-I) Rev trans-activator protein identified CRMI, as a hona fide nuclear export receptor. CRM I appears to be involved in the nucleocytoplasmic translocation of the vast majority of viral and cellular proteins that have subsequently been found to contain a Rev-type leucine-rich nuclear export signal (NES).
Investigation of nuclear export has become a major research focus in cell biology. In particular, analysis of nucleocytoplasmic transport of viral RNAs lead already to the identification of multiple cellular proteins that participate in various nuclear export pathways. Moreover, increased research on viral RNA export is expected to result in the identification of novel drug targets for the therapy of virus-induced diseases. This volume of CTMI provides a timely overview to the mechanisms and factors that mediate nuclear export of viral RNAs. It also covers the structure of nuclear pore complexes and experimental approaches to investigate nuclear export.
Nuclear export of herpes virus RNA.-Nuclear export of adenovirus RNA.-Nuclear export mediated by the Rev/Rex-class of retroviral trans-activator proteins.-CTE-mediated nuclear export.-Nuclear pore complex architecture and functional dynamics.-Methods and assays to investigate nuclear export