To export intron-containing viral mRNAs that encode the structural components of new viral particles from the
nucleus to the cytoplasm, HIV-1 uses the cellular CRM1 export pathway that is exploited by the viral Rev protein. Rev
multimerizes on the Rev response element (RRE) present in the intron-containing RNA species to bridge these to the
cellular export factor CRM1. As a result, this Rev-RRE complex is exported to the cytoplasm. This review provides a
systematic overview of different aspects of the crucial function of Rev multimerization, such as co-operative Rev-Rev and
Rev-RNA interactions, the biological function of Rev multimerization, the relevance of Rev multimerization in the
absence of RRE and its potential as a therapeutic target.
Keywords: Co-operative interactions, HIV-1, multimerization, protein-protein interactions, protein-RNA interactions, Rev,
RNA export, viral replication control.
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