The HIV-1 Gag proteins are translated from the full-length HIV-1 viral RNA (vRNA), whereas the envelope (Env) protein is translated from incompletely spliced Env mRNAs. Nuclear export of vRNAs and Env mRNAs is mediated by the Rev accessory protein which binds to the rev-responsive element (RRE) present on these RNAs. Evidence has shown there is a direct or indirect interaction between the Gag protein, and the cytoplasmic tail (CT) of the Env protein. Our current work shows that env gene expression impacts HIV-1 Gag expression and function in two ways. At the protein level, full-length Env expression altered Gag protein expression, while Env CT-deletion proteins did not. At the RNA level, RRE-containing Env mRNA expression reduced Gag expression, processing, and virus particle release from cells. Our results support models in which Gag is influenced by the Env CT, and Env mRNAs compete with vRNAs for nuclear export.
- RNA export
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