Transportin-3 Facilitates Uncoating of Influenza A Virus

Influenza A viruses (IAVs) are a major global health threat and in the future, may cause the next pandemic. Although studies have partly uncovered the molecular mechanism of IAV-host interaction, it requires further research. In this study, we explored the roles of transportin-3 (TNPO3) in IAV infection. We found that TNPO3-deficient cells inhibited infection with four different IAV strains, whereas restoration of TNPO3 expression in knockout (KO) cells restored IAV infection. TNPO3 overexpression in wild-type (WT) cells promoted IAV infection, suggesting that TNPO3 is involved in the IAV replication. Furthermore, we found that TNPO3 depletion restrained the uncoating in the IAV life cycle, thereby inhibiting the process of viral ribonucleoprotein (vRNP) entry into the nucleus. However, KO of TNPO3 did not affect the virus attachment, endocytosis, or endosomal acidification processes. Subsequently, we found that TNPO3 can colocalize and interact with viral proteins M1 and M2. Taken together, the depletion of TNPO3 inhibits IAV uncoating, thereby inhibiting IAV replication. Our study provides new insights and potential therapeutic targets for unraveling the mechanism of IAV replication and treating influenza disease.