The Gag protein of the murine retrovirus mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) orchestrates the assembly of immature virus particles in the cytoplasm which are subsequently transported to the plasma membrane for release from the cell. The morphogenetic pathway of MMTV assembly is similar to that of Saccharomyces cerevisiae retrotransposons Ty1 and Ty3, which assemble virus-like particles (VLPs) in intracytoplasmic ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes. Assembly of Ty1 and Ty3 VLPs depends upon cellular mRNA processing factors, prompting us to examine whether MMTV utilizes a similar set of host proteins to facilitate viral capsid assembly. Our data revealed that MMTV Gag colocalized with YB-1, a translational regulator found in stress granules and P bodies, in intracytoplasmic foci. The association of MMTV Gag and YB-1 in cytoplasmic granules was not disrupted by cycloheximide treatment, suggesting that these sites were not typical stress granules. However, the association of MMTV Gag and YB-1 was RNA dependent, and an MMTV RNA reporter construct colocalized with Gag and YB-1 in cytoplasmic RNP complexes. Knockdown of YB-1 resulted in a significant decrease in MMTV particle production, indicating that YB-1 plays a role in MMTV capsid formation. Analysis by live-cell imaging with fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) revealed that the population of Gag proteins localized within YB-1 complexes was relatively immobile, suggesting that Gag forms stable complexes in association with YB-1. Together, our data imply that the formation of intracytoplasmic Gag-RNA complexes is facilitated by YB-1, which promotes MMTV virus assembly.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science