Mahboobi, Seyed Hanif; Javanpour, Alex A.; Mofrad, Mohammad R. K.
The Interaction of RNA Helicase DDX3 with HIV-1 Rev-CRM1-RanGTP Complex during the HIV Replication Cycle
PLOS ONE, 10 Art. No. e0112969, FEB 27 2015

Molecular traffic between the nucleus and the cytoplasm is regulated by the nuclear pore complex (NPC), which acts as a highly selective channel perforating the nuclear envelope in eukaryotic cells. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) exploits the nucleocytoplasmic pathway to export its RNA transcripts across the NPC to the cytoplasm. Despite extensive study on the HIV life cycle and the many drugs developed to target this cycle, no current drugs have been successful in targeting the critical process of viral nuclear export, even though HIV's reliance on a single host protein, CRM1, to export its unspliced and partially spliced RNA transcripts makes it a tempting target. Due to recent findings implicating a DEAD-box helicase, DDX3, in HIV replication and a member of the export complex, it has become an appealing target for anti-HIV drug inhibition. In the present research, we have applied a hybrid computational protocol to analyze protein-protein interactions in the HIV mRNA export cycle. This method is based on molecular docking followed by molecular dynamics simulation and accompanied by approximate free energy calculation (MM/GBSA), computational alanine scanning, clustering, and evolutionary analysis. We highlight here some of the most likely binding modes and interfacial residues between DDX3 and CRM1 both in the absence and presence of RanGTP. This work shows that although DDX3 can bind to free CRM1, addition of RanGTP leads to more concentrated distribution of binding modes and stronger binding between CRM1 and RanGTP.


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