Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 12857789
J. Cell. Sci. 2003 Aug;116(Pt 16):3433-42
The role of cellular proteins in the replication of retroviruses, especially during virus assembly, has been partly unraveled by recent studies. Paradoxically, little is known about the route taken by retroviruses to reach the nucleus at the early stages of infection. To get insight into this stage of virus replication, we have studied the trafficking of foamy retroviruses and have previously shown that incoming viral proteins reach the microtubule organizing center (MTOC) prior to nuclear translocation of the viral genome. Here, we show that incoming viruses concentrate around the MTOC as free and structured capsids. Interestingly, the Gag protein, the scaffold component of viral capsids, targets the pericentrosomal region in transfected cells in the absence of any other viral components but in a microtubule- and dynein/dynactin-dependent manner. Trafficking of Gag towards the centrosome requires a minimal 30 amino acid coiled-coil motif in the N-terminus of the molecule. Finally, we describe a direct interaction between Gag and dynein light chain 8 that probably accounts for the specific routing of the incoming capsids to the centrosome prior to nuclear import of the viral genome.