Genome replication and virion production by most negative-sense RNA viruses (NSVs) occurs exclusively in the cytoplasm, but many NSV-expressed proteins undergo active nucleocytoplasmic trafficking via signals that exploit cellular nuclear transport pathways. Nuclear trafficking has been reported both for NSV accessory proteins (including isoforms of the rabies virus phosphoprotein, and V,W and C proteins of paramyxoviruses) and for structural proteins. Trafficking of the former is thought to enable accessory functions in viral modulation of antiviral responses including the type I IFN system, but the intranuclear roles of structural proteins such as nucleocapsid and matrix proteins, which have critical roles in extranuclear replication and viral assembly, are less clear. Nevertheless, nuclear trafficking of matrix protein has been reported to be critical for efficient production of Nipah virus and Respiratory syncytial virus, and nuclear localization of nucleocapsid protein of several morbilliviruses has been linked to mechanisms of immune evasion. Together, these data point to the nucleus as a significant host interface for viral proteins during infection by NSVs with otherwise cytoplasmic life cycles. Importantly, several lines of evidence now suggest that nuclear trafficking of these proteins may be critical to pathogenesis and thus could provide new targets for vaccine development and antiviral therapies.
- Negative strand RNA virus
- Nuclear import