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Mol Cell. 1999 Jun;3(6):729-39.

Activation of Vav by Nef induces cytoskeletal rearrangements and downstream effector functions.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Medicine, University of California at San Francisco 94143-0703, USA.


Nef of primate lentiviruses is critical for high levels of viremia and the progression to AIDS. Nef associates with and activates a serine/threonine kinase (Nef-associated kinase [NAK]) via the small GTPases Rac1 and Cdc42. We identified the protooncogene and guanine nucleotide exchange factor Vav as the specific binding partner of Nef proteins from HIV-1 and SIV. The interaction between Nef and Vav led to increased activity of Vav and its downstream effectors. Both cytoskeletal changes and the activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) were observed. Furthermore, a dominant-negative Vav protein inhibited NAK activation and viral replication. Thus, the interaction between Nef and Vav initiates a signaling cascade that changes structural and physiological parameters in the infected cell.

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