Typical viral propagation involves sequential viral entry, uncoating, replication, gene transcription and protein synthesis, and virion assembly and release. Some viral proteins must be transported into host nucleus to facilitate viral propagation, which is essential for the production of mature virions. During the transport process, nuclear localization signals (NLSs) play an important role in guiding target proteins into nucleus through the nuclear pore. To date, some classical nuclear localization signals (cNLSs) and non-classical NLSs (ncNLSs) have been identified in a number of viral proteins. These proteins are involved in viral replication, expression regulation of viral genes and virion assembly. Moreover, other proteins are transported into nucleus with unknown mechanisms. This review highlights our current knowledge about the nuclear trafficking of cellular proteins associated with viral propagation.
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