Actin, nucleation-promoting factors (NPFs), and the actin-related protein 2/3 complex (Arp2/3) are key elements of the cellular actin polymerization machinery. With nuclear actin polymerization implicated in ever-expanding biological processes and the discovery of the nuclear import mechanisms of actin and NPFs, determining Arp2/3 nucleo-cytoplasmic shuttling mechanism is important for understanding the function of nuclear actin. A unique feature of alphabaculovirus infection of insect cells is the robust nuclear accumulation of Arp2/3, which induces actin polymerization in the nucleus to assist in virus replication.
Recently, in Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Research Group of Molecular Biology of Hepatitis Viruses and Gene Therapy led by Prof. Chen Xinwen, found that Ac34, a viral late gene product encoded by the alphabaculovirus Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV), is involved in Arp2/3 nuclear accumulationduring virus infection. Further assays revealed that the subcellular distribution of Arp2/3 under steady-state conditions is controlled by chromosomal maintenance 1 (CRM1)-dependent nuclear export. Upon AcMNPV infection, Ac34 inhibits CRM1 pathway and leads to Arp2/3 retention in the nucleus.