The cytomegalovirus (CMV) assembly protein precursor (pAP) interacts with the major capsid protein (MCP), and this interaction is required for nuclear translocation of the MCP, which otherwise remains in the cytoplasm of transfected cells (L. J. Wood et al., J. Virol. 71:179-190, 1997). We have interpreted this finding to indicate that the CMV MCP lacks its own nuclear localization signal (NLS) and utilizes the pAP as an NLS-bearing escort into the nucleus. The CMV pAP amino acid sequence has two clusters of basic residues (e.g., KRRRER [NLS1] and KARKRLK [NLS2], for simian CMV) that resemble the simian virus 40 large-T-antigen NLS (D. Kalderon et al., Cell 39:499-509, 1984) and one of these (NLS1) has a counterpart in the pAP homologs of other herpesviruses. The work described here establishes that NLS1 and NLS2 are mutually independent NLS that can act (i) in cis to translocate pAP and the related proteinase precursor (pNP1) into the nucleus and (ii) in trans to trans port MCP into the nucleus. By using combinations of NLS mutants and carboxy-terminal deletion constructs, we demonstrated a self-interaction of pAP and cytoplasmic interactions of pAP with pNP1 and of pNP1 with itself. The relevance of these findings to early steps in capsid assembly, the mechanism of MCP nuclear transport, and the possible cytoplasmic formation of protocapsomeric substructures is discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science