The DNA genome of hepatitis B virus (HBV) replicates via reverse transcription within capsids following the encapsidation of an RNA template, the pregenomic RNA (pgRNA). We previously demonstrated that the 5′ cap proximity of the stem-loop structure (ε or epsilon), an encapsidation signal, is critically important for the encapsidation of the pgRNA (J. K. Jeong, G. S. Yoon, and W. S. Ryu, J. Virol. 74:5502-5508, 2000). Therefore, we speculated that the viral polymerase (Pol), while bound to the 5′ε stem-loop structure, could recognize the cap via its interaction with eIF4E, a eukaryotic translation initiation factor. Our data showed the direct interaction between HBV Pol and eIF4E, as measured by coimmunoprecipitation. Further, we demonstrated that eIF4E interacts with the Pol-ε ribonucleoprotein complex (RNP) rather than Pol alone, resulting in eIF4E-Pol-ε RNP complex formation. In addition, we asked whether eIF4E remains engaged to the Pol-ε RNP complex during nucleocapsid assembly. Density gradient analysis revealed that eIF4E indeed was incorporated into nucleocapsids. It is of great importance to uncover whether the incorporated eIF4E contributes to viral reverse transcription or other steps in the HBV life cycle.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science