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Han Z, Alves C, Gudima S, Taylor J
Intracellular localization of hepatitis delta virus proteins in the presence and absence of viral RNA accumulation
J Virol (2009) 83:6457-63.
Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) encodes one protein, hepatitis delta antigen (deltaAg), a 195-amino-acid RNA binding protein essential for the accumulation of HDV RNA-directed RNA transcripts. It has been accepted that deltaAg localizes predominantly to the nucleolus in the absence of HDV genome replication while in the presence of replication, deltaAg facilitates HDV RNA transport to the nucleoplasm and helps redirect host RNA polymerase II (Pol II) to achieve transcription and accumulation of processed HDV RNA species. This study used immunostaining and confocal microscopy to evaluate factors controlling the localization of deltaAg in the presence and absence of replicating and nonreplicating HDV RNAs. When deltaAg was expressed in the absence of full-length HDV RNAs, it colocalized with nucleolin, a predominant nucleolar protein. With time, or more quickly after induced cell stress, there was a redistribution of both deltaAg and nucleolin to the nucleoplasm. Following expression of nonreplicating HDV RNAs, deltaAg moved to the nucleoplasm, but nucleolin was unchanged. When deltaAg was expressed along with replicating HDV RNA, it was found predominantly in the nucleoplasm along with Pol II. This localization was insensitive to inhibitors of HDV replication, suggesting that the majority of deltaAg in the nucleoplasm reflects ribonucleoprotein accumulation rather than ongoing transcription. An additional approach was to reevaluate several forms of deltaAg altered at specific locations considered to be essential for protein function. These studies provide evidence that deltaAg does not interact directly with either Pol II or nucleolin and that forms of deltaAg which support replication are also capable of prior nucleolar transit.
Publication Date: 2009-07-01.
PMCID: PMC2698582
Last updated on Saturday, August 22, 2020