Viruses have evolved various strategies to ensure efficient translation using host cell ribosomes and translation factors. In addition to cleaving translation initiation factors required for host cell translation, poliovirus (PV) uses an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) to bypass the need for these translation initiation factors. Recent studies also suggest that viruses have evolved to exploit specific ribosomal proteins to enhance translation of their viral proteins. The ribosomal protein receptor for activated C kinase 1 (RACK1), a protein of the 40S ribosomal subunit, was previously shown to mediate translation of the 5′ cricket paralysis virus and hepatitis C virus IRESs. Here we found that while translation of a PV dual-luciferase reporter shows only a moderate dependence on RACK1, PV translation in the context of a viral infection is drastically reduced. We observed significantly reduced poliovirus plaque size and a delayed host cell translational shut-off suggesting that loss of RACK1 increases the length of the virus life cycle. Our findings further illustrate the involvement of the cellular translational machinery in PV infection and how viruses usurp the function of specific ribosomal proteins.
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