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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Jul 19, 1994; 91(15): 7311–7315.
PMCID: PMC44389

The Vpr protein of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 influences nuclear localization of viral nucleic acids in nondividing host cells.

Abstract

The replication of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in nondividing host cells such as those of macrophage lineage is an important feature of AIDS pathogenesis. The pattern of HIV-1 replication is dictated, in part, by the nucleophilic property of the viral gag matrix (MA) protein, a component of the viral preintegration complex that facilitates nuclear localization of viral nucleic acids in the absence of mitosis. We now identify the accessory viral protein Vpr, as a second nucleophilic component that influences nuclear localization of viral nucleic acids in nondividing cells. Reverse transcription and nuclear localization of viral nucleic acids following infection of cells by viruses lacking Vpr or viruses containing mutations in a gag MA nuclear localization sequence were indistinguishable from the pattern observed in cells infected by wild-type HIV-1. These viruses retained the ability to replicate in both dividing and nondividing host cells including monocyte-derived macrophages. In contrast, introduction of both gag MA and Vpr mutations in HIV-1 attenuated nuclear localization of viral nucleic acids in nondividing cells and virus replication in monocyte-derived macrophages. These studies demonstrate redundant nucleophilic determinants of HIV-1 that independently permit nuclear localization of viral nucleic acids and virus replication in nondividing cells such as monocyte-derived macrophages. In addition, these studies provide a defined function for an accessory gene product of HIV-1.

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