Virus Infection and mRNA Nuclear Export

Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Aug 9;24(16):12593. doi: 10.3390/ijms241612593.


Gene expression in eukaryotes begins with transcription in the nucleus, followed by the synthesis of messenger RNA (mRNA), which is then exported to the cytoplasm for its translation into proteins. Along with transcription and translation, mRNA export through the nuclear pore complex (NPC) is an essential regulatory step in eukaryotic gene expression. Multiple factors regulate mRNA export and hence gene expression. Interestingly, proteins from certain types of viruses interact with these factors in infected cells, and such an interaction interferes with the mRNA export of the host cell in favor of viral RNA export. Thus, these viruses hijack the host mRNA nuclear export mechanism, leading to a reduction in host gene expression and the downregulation of immune/antiviral responses. On the other hand, the viral mRNAs successfully evade the host surveillance system and are efficiently exported from the nucleus to the cytoplasm for translation, which enables the continuation of the virus life cycle. Here, we present this review to summarize the mechanisms by which viruses suppress host mRNA nuclear export during infection, as well as the key strategies that viruses use to facilitate their mRNA nuclear export. These studies have revealed new potential antivirals that may be used to inhibit viral mRNA transport and enhance host mRNA nuclear export, thereby promoting host gene expression and immune responses.

Keywords: CRM1; NPC; NXF1; Nup98; Rae1; host mRNA; mRNA export; viral mRNA; virus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Active Transport, Cell Nucleus
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Eukaryota
  • Humans
  • RNA Transport
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Virus Diseases*


  • Antiviral Agents
  • RNA, Messenger