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Mol Biol Cell. 2007 Sep;18(9):3351-65. Epub 2007 Jun 20.

HIV-1 Nef-induced down-regulation of MHC class I requires AP-1 and clathrin but not PACS-1 and is impeded by AP-2.

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  • 1University of Cambridge, Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, Cambridge CB2 0XY, United Kingdom.


Major histocompatibility complex class I is down-regulated from the surface of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1-infected cells by Nef, a virally encoded protein that is thought to reroute MHC-I to the trans-Golgi network (TGN) in a phosphofurin acidic cluster sorting protein (PACS) 1, adaptor protein (AP)-1, and clathrin-dependent manner. More recently, an alternative model has been proposed, in which Nef uses AP-1 to direct MHC-I to endosomes and lysosomes. Here, we show that knocking down either AP-1 or clathrin with small interfering RNA inhibits the down-regulation of HLA-A2 (an MHC-I isotype) by Nef in HeLa cells. However, knocking down PACS-1 has no effect, not only on Nef-induced down-regulation of HLA-A2 but also on the localization of other proteins containing acidic cluster motifs. Surprisingly, knocking down AP-2 actually enhances Nef activity. Immuno-electron microscopy labeling of Nef-expressing cells indicates that HLA-A2 is rerouted not to the TGN, but to endosomes. In AP-2-depleted cells, more of the HLA-A2 localizes to the inner vesicles of multivesicular bodies. We propose that depleting AP-2 potentiates Nef activity by altering the membrane composition and dynamics of endosomes and causing increased delivery of HLA-A2 to a prelysosomal compartment.

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