Packaging of host mY RNAs by murine leukemia virus may occur early in Y RNA biogenesis

Eric L. Garcia, Adewunmi Onafuwa-Nuga, Soyeong Sim, Steven R. King, Sandra L. Wolin, Alice Telesnitsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Moloney murine leukemia virus (MLV) selectively encapsidates host mY1 and mY3 RNAs. These noncoding RNA polymerase III transcripts are normally complexed with the Ro60 and La proteins, which are autoantigens associated with rheumatic disease that function in RNA biogenesis and quality control. Here, MLV replication and mY RNA packaging were analyzed using Ro60 knockout embryonic fibroblasts, which contain only ~3% as much mY RNA as wild-type cells. Virus spread at the same rate in wild-type and Ro knockout cells. Surprisingly, MLV virions shed by Ro60 knockout cells continued to package high levels of mY1 and mY3 (about two copies of each) like those from wild-type cells, even though mY RNAs were barely detectable within producer cells. As a result, for MLV produced in Ro60 knockout cells, encapsidation selectivity from among all cell RNAs was even higher for mY RNAs than for the viral genome. Whereas mY RNAs are largely cytoplasmic in wild-type cells, fractionation of knockout cells revealed that the residual mY RNAs were relatively abundant in nuclei, likely reflecting the fact that most mY RNAs were degraded shortly after transcription in the absence of Ro60. Together, these data suggest that these small, labile host RNAs may be recruited at a very early stage of their biogenesis and may indicate an intersection of retroviral assembly and RNA quality control pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12526-12534
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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