Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Margo A.Brinton - Chair

Second Advisor

Irene T. Weber

Third Advisor

Teryl K. Frey


The 3' terminal stem loop of the WNV minus-strand [WNV3'(-) SL] RNA was previously shown to bind the cell protein, T-cell intracellular antigen-1 (TIA-1), and the related protein, TIAR. These two proteins are known to bind AU-rich sequences in the 3' UTRs of some cellular mRNAs. AU stretches are located in three single-stranded loops (L1, L2, and L3) of the WNV3'(-) SL RNA. The RNA binding activity of both proteins was reduced when L1 or L2, but not L3, AU sequences were deleted or substituted with Cs. Deletion or substitution with Cs of the entire AU-rich sequence in either L1 or L2 in a WNV infectious clone was lethal for the virus while mutation of some of these nt decreased the efficiency of virus replication. Mutant viral RNAs with small plaque or lethal phenotypes had similar translational efficiencies to wildtype RNA, but showed decreased levels of plus-strand RNA synthesis. These results correlated well with the efficiency of TIA-1 and/or TIAR binding in in vitro assays. In normal cells, TIA-1 and TIAR are evenly distributed in the cytoplasm and nucleus. Between 6 and 24 hr after WNV infection, TIAR concentrated in the perinuclear region and TIA-1 localization to this region began by 24 hr. Similar observations were made in DV2 infected cells but at later times after infection. In infected cells, both proteins colocalized with dsRNA, a marker for viral replication complexes, and with viral non-structural proteins. Anti-TIAR or anti-TIA-1 antibody coimmunoprecipitated viral NS3 and possibly other viral nonstructural proteins. In response to different types stress, TIA-1 and TIAR recruit cell mRNA poly(A)+ into cytoplasmic stress granules (SG) leading to general translational arrest in these cells. SG were not induced by flavivirus infection and cells became increasingly resistant to arsenite induction of SG with time after infection. Processing Body (PB) assembly was also decreased beginning at 24 hr. These data suggest that the sequestration of first TIAR and then TIA-1 via their interaction with viral components in flavivirus infected cells inhibits SG formation and prevents the shutoff of host translation.

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