The internal N6-methyladenosine (m6A) methylation of eukaryotic nuclear RNA controls post-transcriptional gene expression, which is regulated by methyltransferases (writers), demethylases (erasers), and m6A-binding proteins (readers) in cells. The YTH domain family proteins (YTHDF1-3) bind to m6A-modified cellular RNAs and affect RNA metabolism and processing. Here we show that YTHDF1-3 proteins recognize m6A-modified HIV-1 RNA and inhibit HIV-1 infection in cell lines and primary CD4+ T-cells. We further mapped the YTHDF1-3 binding sites in HIV-1 RNA from infected cells. We found that overexpression of YTHDF proteins in cells inhibited HIV-1 infection mainly by decreasing HIV-1 reverse transcription, while knockdown of YTHDF1-3 in cells had the opposite effects. Moreover, silencing the m6A writers decreased HIV-1 Gag protein expression in virus-producer cells, while silencing the m6A erasers increased Gag expression. Our findings suggest an important role of m6A modification of HIV-1 RNA in viral infection and HIV-1 protein synthesis.
- Stephen P Goff, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University, United States
© 2016, Tirumuru et al.
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