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Open AccessCommentary

A Long-Awaited Structure Is Rev-ealed

Myles H. Thaler Center for AIDS and Human Retrovirus Research and The Department of Microbiology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA
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Viruses 2011, 3(5), 484-492; https://doi.org/10.3390/v3050484
Received: 16 March 2011 / Revised: 20 April 2011 / Accepted: 26 April 2011 / Published: 5 May 2011
(This article belongs to the Section Editorial)
It has been known for some time that the HIV Rev protein binds and oligomerizes on a well-defined multiple stem-loop RNA structure, named the Rev Response Element (RRE), which is present in a subset of HIV mRNAs. This binding is the first step in a pathway that overcomes a host restriction, which would otherwise prevent the export of these RNAs to the cytoplasm. Four recent publications now provide new insight into the structure of Rev and the multimeric RNA-protein complex that forms on the RRE [1–4]. Two unexpected and remarkable findings revealed in these studies are the flexibility of RNA binding that is demonstrated by the Rev arginine-rich RNA binding motif, and the way that both Rev protein and RRE contribute to the formation of the complex in a highly cooperative fashion. These studies also define the Rev dimerization and oligomerization interfaces to a resolution of 2.5Å, providing a framework necessary for further structural and functional studies. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, they also pave the way for rational drug design, which may ultimately lead to new therapies to inhibit this essential HIV function.
Keywords: HIV-1; Rev; RRE; RNA export; nuclear-cytoplasmic export; protein structure; RNA-protein binding; X-ray crystallography HIV-1; Rev; RRE; RNA export; nuclear-cytoplasmic export; protein structure; RNA-protein binding; X-ray crystallography
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Hammarskjold, M.-L.; Rekosh, D. A Long-Awaited Structure Is Rev-ealed. Viruses 2011, 3, 484-492.

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