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Nucleolar distribution of the HIV-1 nucleocapsid protein investigated by the super-resolution microscopy

  • Glushonkov, Oleksandr
Publication Date
Apr 06, 2018
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During this experimental thesis work, we investigated the nuclear and nucleolar localization of the nucleocapsid protein (NC) of HIV-1. Previous studies performed in our laboratory evidenced a strong accumulation of NC in a subnuclear structure called nucleolus. Playing role in multiple cellular processes, nucleolus is often targeted by viruses to promote their replication. Electron microscopy revealed three nucleolar components (fibrillar centers, dense fibrillar component and granular component) associated to specific steps of the ribosome biogenesis. To characterize the distribution of the NC in these three sub-compartments and therefore shed light on the nucleolar localization of NC during the replication cycle, we developed a high-resolution optical microscopy approach. After having minimized the optical aberrations and corrected the mechanical drifts inherent to the imaging setup, the NC-mEos2 fusion protein overexpressed in HeLa cells was visualized simultaneously with immunolabeled nucleolar markers. The use of high-resolution fluorescence microscopy enabled us to resolve for the first time the three nucleolar compartments and to demonstrate the preferential localization of NC in the granular compartment of nucleolus. Finally, preliminary experiments performed with living cells showed that NC is actively transported in the nucleus and therefore may interact directly with nucleolar proteins.

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