7SL RNA promotes the formation of the signal recognition particle that targets secretory and membrane proteins to the endoplasmic reticulum. 7SL RNA is also selectively packaged by many retroviruses, including HIV-1. Here, we demonstrate that 7SL RNA is an integral component of the viral ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex containing Gag, viral genomic RNA, and tRNA3 Lys. Only the potent anti-HIV-1 cytidine deaminases can bind to 7SL RNA and target to HIV-1 RNP. A conserved motif in the amino-terminal region of A3G is important for 7SL RNA interaction. The weak anti-HIV-1 A3C did not interact with 7SL RNA and failed to target to viral RNPs, despite efficient virion packaging. However, a chimeric construct of A3C plus the 7SL-binding amino terminus of A3G did target to viral RNPs and showed enhanced anti-HIV-1 activity. 7SL RNA binding is a conserved feature of human anti-HIV-1 cytidine deaminases. Thus, potent anti-HIV-1 cytidine deaminases have evolved to possess a unique RNA-binding ability for precise HIV-1 targeting and viral inhibition.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science