Nuclear speckle integrity and function require TAO2 kinase

Shengyan Gao, Matthew Esparza, Ishmael Dehghan, Vasilisa Aksenova, Ke Zhang, Kimberly Batten, Max B. Ferretti, Bridget E. Begg, Tolga Cagatay, Jerry W Shay, Adolfo García-Sastre, Elizabeth J. Goldsmith, Zhijian J. Chen, Mary Dasso, Kristen W. Lynch, Melanie H. Cobb, Beatriz M.A. Fontoura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nuclear speckles are non-membrane-bound organelles known as storage sites for messenger RNA (mRNA) processing and splicing factors. More recently, nuclear speckles have also been implicated in splicing and export of a subset of mRNAs, including the influenza virus M mRNA that encodes proteins required for viral entry, trafficking, and budding. However, little is known about how nuclear speckles are assembled or regulated. Here, we uncovered a role for the cellular protein kinase TAO2 as a constituent of nuclear speckles and as a factor required for the integrity of these nuclear bodies and for their functions in pre-mRNA splicing and trafficking. We found that a nuclear pool of TAO2 is localized at nuclear speckles and interacts with nuclear speckle factors involved in RNA splicing and nuclear export, including SRSF1 and Aly/Ref. Depletion of TAO2 or inhibition of its kinase activity disrupts nuclear speckle structure, decreasing the levels of several proteins involved in nuclear speckle assembly and splicing, including SC35 and SON. Consequently, splicing and nuclear export of influenza virus M mRNA were severely compromised and caused a disruption in the virus life cycle. In fact, low levels of TAO2 led to a decrease in viral protein levels and inhibited viral replication. Additionally, depletion or inhibition of TAO2 resulted in abnormal expression of a subset of mRNAs with key roles in viral replication and immunity. Together, these findings uncovered a function of TAO2 in nuclear speckle formation and function and revealed host requirements and vulnerabilities for influenza infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e2206046119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 21 2022


  • mRNA export
  • nuclear speckles
  • splicing
  • TAOK2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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