Sam68 Promotes Hepatitis C Virus Replication by Interaction with Stem-Loop 2 of Viral 5' Untranslated Region.


Institute of Pathogen Biology and Immunology of College of Biology, State Key Laboratory of Chemo/Biosensing and Chemometrics, Hunan University, Changsha, Hunan, China [Email]


The Src-associated in mitosis 68-kDa (Sam68) protein is a highly conserved nuclear protein and is involved in a series of cellular processes, including transcription and signal transduction. Sam68 is comprised of 443 amino acids and contains an RGG box domain, a KH domain, and a tyrosine-rich domain. Its role in hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication is unknown. Here, we find that Sam68 promotes HCV replication without affecting viral translation. The RNA immunoprecipitation experiments show that the positive strand of HCV RNA interacts with Sam68. HCV infection triggers the translocation of the Sam68 protein from the nucleus to the cytoplasm, where it interacts with the HCV genome. Further study shows that the region of Sam68 spanning amino acids 1 to 157 is the pivotal domain to interact with the stem-loop 2 of the HCV 5' untranslated region (5' UTR) and is responsible for the enhancement of HCV replication. These data suggested that Sam68 may serve as a proviral factor of HCV to facilitate viral replication through interaction with the viral genome.IMPORTANCE Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a member of the Flaviviridae family, and its infection causes chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, and even hepatocellular carcinoma. No vaccine is available. Many host factors may be implicated in the pathogenesis of HCV-related diseases. This study discloses a new host factor that binds to the HCV 5' UTR and promotes HCV replication. Sam68 may play an important role in HCV-related diseases, and further investigation is highly encouraged to explore its specific actions in HCV pathogenesis.


5′ untranslated region,HCV,Sam68,replication,viral genome,

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