Open Access
Role of RNA structure and protein factors in the control of HIV-1 splicing
Jean-Michel Saliou1,Cyril F Bourgeois1,Lilia Ayadi-Ben Mena1,Delphine Ropers1,Sandrine Jacquenet1,Virginie Marchand1,James Stevenin1,Christiane Branlant1
MAEM, UMR 7567 CNRS-UHP, Nancy Universite, Faculte des sciences et techniques, BP239, Vandoeuvre Les Nancy CEDEX, France
DOI: 10.2741/3408 Volume 14 Issue 7, pp.2714-2729
Published: 01 January 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein-RNA interactions in viral RNA processing)

Alternative splicing plays a key role in the production of numerous proteins by complex lentiviruses such as HIV-1. The study of HIV-1 RNA splicing has provided useful information not only about the physiology of the virus, but also about the general mechanisms that regulate mammalian pre-mRNA alternative splicing. Like all retroviruses, a fraction of HIV-1 transcripts remains intact to serve as genomic RNA and to code for Gag and Gag-Pol protein precursors. In addition, splicing is important for controlling the production of some viral proteins, which could otherwise have a negative effect on the infected cell. Here, we summarize how the utilization of HIV-1 splicing sites is limited by the binding of nuclear factors to cis-acting silencer elements, taking into account the role of RNA secondary structure in these mechanisms. We also describe how the poorly efficient HIV-1 acceptor sites are nevertheless activated by serine/arginine-rich proteins. Finally, we discuss how nuclear factors that interact with both the transcription and splicing machineries also participate in the control of HIV-1 RNA splicing.

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Jean-Michel Saliou, Cyril F Bourgeois, Lilia Ayadi-Ben Mena, Delphine Ropers, Sandrine Jacquenet, Virginie Marchand, James Stevenin, Christiane Branlant. Role of RNA structure and protein factors in the control of HIV-1 splicing. Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark. 2009. 14(7); 2714-2729.