CRNKL1 is a highly selective regulator of intron-retaining HIV-1 and cellular mRNAs


  • H. Xiao
  • E. Wyler
  • M. Milek
  • B. Grewe
  • P. Kirchner
  • A. Ekici
  • A.B.O.V. Silva
  • D. Jungnickl
  • F. Full
  • M. Thomas
  • M. Landthaler
  • A. Ensser
  • K. Überla


  • mBio


  • mBio 12 (1): e02525-20


  • The HIV-1 Rev protein is a nuclear export factor for unspliced and incompletely spliced HIV-1 RNAs. Without Rev, these intron-retaining RNAs are trapped in the nucleus. A genome-wide screen identified nine proteins of the spliceosome, which all enhanced expression from the HIV-1 unspliced RNA after CRISPR/Cas knockdown. Depletion of DHX38, WDR70, and four proteins of the Prp19-associated complex (ISY1, BUD31, XAB2, and CRNKL1) resulted in a more than 20-fold enhancement of unspliced HIV-1 RNA levels in the cytoplasm. Targeting of CRNKL1, DHX38, and BUD31 affected nuclear export efficiencies of the HIV-1 unspliced RNA to a much larger extent than splicing. Transcriptomic analyses further revealed that CRNKL1 also suppresses cytoplasmic levels of a subset of cellular mRNAs, including some with selectively retained introns. Thus, CRNKL1-dependent nuclear retention is a novel cellular mechanism for the regulation of cytoplasmic levels of intron-retaining HIV-1 mRNAs, which HIV-1 may have harnessed to direct its complex splicing pattern. IMPORTANCE: To regulate its complex splicing pattern, HIV-1 uses the adaptor protein Rev to shuttle unspliced or partially spliced mRNA from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. In the absence of Rev, these RNAs are retained in the nucleus, but it is unclear why. Here we identify cellular proteins whose depletion enhances cytoplasmic levels of the HIV-1 unspliced RNA. Depletion of one of them, CRNKL1, also increases cytoplasmic levels of a subset of intron-retaining cellular mRNA, suggesting that CRNKL1-dependent nuclear retention may be a basic cellular mechanism exploited by HIV-1.