KPNA6 is a Cofactor of ANP32A/B in Supporting Influenza Virus Polymerase Activity

Influenza A virus (IAV) RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (vPol) is a heterotrimer composed of PB2, PB1, and PA, which, together with vRNA and nucleoprotein (NP), forms viral ribonucleoprotein (vRNP) complex to direct the transcription and replication of the viral genome. Host factor ANP32 proteins have been proved to be associated with vRNP and are essential for polymerase activity and cross-species restriction of avian influenza virus. However, the molecular mechanism by which ANP32 supports polymerase activity is largely unknown. Here, we identified that KPNA6 is associated with ANP32A/B and vRNP of the influenza virus. Both knockout and overexpression of KPNA6 downregulate the replication of the influenza virus by inhibiting the polymerase activity, indicating that a certain level of KPNA6 is beneficial for efficient replication of the influenza virus. Furthermore, we demonstrate that overexpression of KPNA6 or its nuclear importing domain negative mutation inhibited the interaction between ANP32 and vRNP, thus reducing the polymerase activity. Our results revealed the role of KPNA6 in interacting with both ANP32A/B and vRNP to maintain viral polymerase activity and provided new insights for further understanding of the mechanism by which ANP32 supports influenza polymerase. IMPORTANCE Host factor ANP32 plays a fundamental role in supporting the polymerase activity of influenza viruses, but the underlying mechanism is largely unknown. Here, we propose that KPNA6 is involved in the function of ANP32A/B to support influenza virus polymerase by interacting with both vRNP and ANP32A/B. The proper amount of KPNA6 and ANP32 proteins in the KPNA6-ANP32-vRNP complex is crucial for maintaining the viral polymerase activity. The KPNA6 may contribute to maintaining stable interaction between vRNA and ANP32 proteins in the nucleus, and this function is independent of the known importing domain of KPNA6. Our research reveals a role of KNPA6 associated with ANP32 proteins that support the viral polymerase and suggests a new perspective for developing antiviral strategies.