Nuclear import of bovine papillomavirus type 1 E1 protein is mediated by multiple alpha importins and is negatively regulated by phosphorylation near a nuclear localization signal. Academic Article uri icon


  • Papillomavirus DNA replication occurs in the nucleus of infected cells and requires the viral E1 protein, which enters the nuclei of host epithelial cells and carries out enzymatic functions required for the initiation of viral DNA replication. In this study, we investigated the pathway and regulation of the nuclear import of the E1 protein from bovine papillomavirus type 1 (BPV1). Using an in vitro binding assay, we determined that the E1 protein interacted with importins alpha3, alpha4, and alpha5 via its nuclear localization signal (NLS) sequence. In agreement with this result, purified E1 protein was effectively imported into the nucleus of digitonin-permeabilized HeLa cells after incubation with importin alpha3, alpha4, or alpha5 and other necessary import factors. We also observed that in vitro binding of E1 protein to all three alpha importins was significantly decreased by the introduction of pseudophosphorylation mutations in the NLS region. Consistent with the binding defect, pseudophosphorylated E1 protein failed to enter the nucleus of digitonin-permeabilized HeLa cells in vitro. Likewise, the pseudophosphorylation mutant showed aberrant intracellular localization in vivo and accumulated primarily on the nuclear envelope in transfected HeLa cells, while the corresponding alanine replacement mutant displayed the same cellular location pattern as wild-type E1 protein. Collectively, our data demonstrate that BPV1 E1 protein can be transported into the nucleus by more than one importin alpha and suggest that E1 phosphorylation by host cell kinases plays a regulatory role in modulating E1 nucleocytoplasmic localization. This phosphoregulation of nuclear E1 protein uptake may contribute to the coordination of viral replication with keratinocyte proliferation and differentiation.

published proceedings

  • J Virol

author list (cited authors)

  • Bian, X., Rosas-Acosta, G., Wu, Y., & Wilson, V. G.

citation count

  • 23

complete list of authors

  • Bian, Xue-Lin||Rosas-Acosta, Germ├ín||Wu, Yu-Chieh||Wilson, Van G

publication date

  • March 2007