The heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein K (hnRNP K) is a member of the family of hnRNPs and was recently shown in a genome-wide small interfering RNA (siRNA) screen to support vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) growth. To decipher the role of hnRNP K in VSV infection, we conducted studies which suggest that the protein is required for VSV spreading. Virus binding to cells, entry, and nucleocapsid uncoating steps were not adversely affected in the absence of hnRNP K, whereas viral genome transcription and replication were reduced slightly. These results indicate that hnRNP K is likely involved in virus assembly and/or release from infected cells. Further studies showed that hnRNP K suppresses apoptosis of virus-infected cells, resulting in increased cell survival during VSV infection. The increased survival of the infected cells was found to be due to the suppression of proapoptotic proteins such as Bcl-XS and Bik in a cell-type-dependent manner. Additionally, depletion of hnRNP K resulted in not only significantly increased levels of T-cell-restricted intracellular antigen 1 (TIA1) but also switching of the expression of the two isoforms of the protein (TIA1a and TIA1b), both of which inhibited VSV replication. hnRNP K was also found to support expression of several cellular proteins known to be required for VSV infection. Overall, our studies demonstrate hnRNP K to be a multifunctional protein that supports VSV infection via its role(s) in suppressing apoptosis of infected cells, inhibiting the expression of antiviral proteins, and maintaining the expression of proteins required for the virus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science