The translation of polioviral mRNA occurs through an internal ribosomal entry site (IRES). Several RNA-binding proteins, such as polypyrimidine tract-binding protein (PTB) and poly(rC)-binding protein (PCBP), are required for the poliovirus IRES-dependent translation. Here we report that a poliovirus protein, 3Cpro (and/or 3CDpro), cleaves PTB isoforms (PTB1, PTB2, and PTB4). Three 3Cpro target sites (one major target site and two minor target sites) exist in PTBs. PTB fragments generated by poliovirus infection are redistributed to the cytoplasm from the nucleus, where most of the intact PTBs are localized. Moreover, these PTB fragments inhibit polioviral IRES-dependent translation in a cell-based assay system. We speculate that the proteolytic cleavage of PTBs may contribute to the molecular switching from translation to replication of polioviral RNA.
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