Abstract | RNA-directed remodeling of the HIV-1 protein Rev orchestrates assembly of the Rev–Rev response element complex

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RNA-directed remodeling of the HIV-1 protein Rev orchestrates assembly of the Rev–Rev response element complex

Abstract

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University of California, San Francisco, United States

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.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.04120.001