The rev protein (Rev) of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is known as a post-transcriptional regulator of viral gene expression. It is located in the cell nucleolus. Transiently expressed Rev caused nucleolar ballooning and deformity with aberrant accumulation of rRNAs, and de novo synthesis of rRNAs decreased dramatically in these cells. However, similarly expressed rex protein (Rex) of the human T-cell leukemia virus type I, which is a functional homologue to Rev, did not affect nucleolar structure and function. Rev expression resulted in cell death with nucleolar destruction in an inducible cell line. Analysis of Rev mutants revealed that both the nucleolar targeting signal of Rev and the multimerization domain are prerequisites to the nucleolar disintegration by Rev. Human T-cells acutely infected with HIV-1 contained nucleoli which were deformed and filled with Rev, but chronically infected cells had intact nucleoli. Involvement of Rev in cytopathic effects in HIV-1 infection is discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology