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Role of the Influenza Virus M1 Protein in Nuclear Export of Viral Ribonucleoproteins

American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
  • Replication
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


The protein kinase inhibitor H7 blocks influenza virus replication, inhibits production of the matrix protein (M1), and leads to a retention of the viral ribonucleoproteins (vRNPs) in the nucleus at late times of infection (K. Martin and A. Helenius, Cell 67:117–130, 1991). We show here that production of assembled vRNPs occurs normally in H7-treated cells, and we have used H7 as a biochemical tool to trap vRNPs in the nucleus. When H7 was removed from the cells, vRNP export was specifically induced in a CHO cell line stably expressing recombinant M1. Similarly, fusion of cells expressing recombinant M1 from a Semliki Forest virus vector allowed nuclear export of vRNPs. However, export was not rescued when H7 was present in the cells, implying an additional role for phosphorylation in this process. The viral NS2 protein was undetectable in these systems. We conclude that influenza virus M1 is required to induce vRNP nuclear export but that cellular phosphorylation is an additional factor.

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