The HIV-1 protein Rev controls a critical step in viral replication by mediating the nuclear export of unspliced and singly-spliced viral mRNAs. Multiple Rev subunits assemble on the Rev Response Element (RRE), a structured region present in these RNAs, and direct their export through the Crm1 pathway. Rev-RRE assembly occurs via several Rev oligomerization and RNA-binding steps, but how these steps are coordinated to form an export-competent complex is unclear. Here, we report the first crystal structure of a Rev dimer-RRE complex, revealing a dramatic rearrangement of the Rev-dimer upon RRE binding through re-packing of its hydrophobic protein-protein interface. Rev-RNA recognition relies on sequence-specific contacts at the well-characterized IIB site and local RNA architecture at the second site. The structure supports a model in which the RRE utilizes the inherent plasticity of Rev subunit interfaces to guide the formation of a functional complex.
- Wesley I Sundquist, University of Utah, United States
© 2014, Jayaraman et al.
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Two new structures shed additional light on the nuclear transport of viral transcripts.