Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Mol Biol. 2011 Jul 22;410(4):553-64. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2011.04.072.

Beyond plasma membrane targeting: role of the MA domain of Gag in retroviral genome encapsidation.

Author information

  • 1Department of Medicine, Penn State College of Medicine, The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA 17033, USA.


The MA (matrix) domain of the retroviral Gag polyprotein plays several critical roles during virus assembly. Although best known for targeting the Gag polyprotein to the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane for virus budding, recent studies have revealed that MA also contributes to selective packaging of the genomic RNA (gRNA) into virions. In this Review, we summarize recent progress in understanding how MA participates in genome incorporation. We compare the mechanisms by which the MA domains of different retroviral Gag proteins influence gRNA packaging, highlighting variations and similarities in how MA directs the subcellular trafficking of Gag, interacts with host factors and binds to nucleic acids. A deeper understanding of how MA participates in these diverse functions at different stages in the virus assembly pathway will require more detailed information about the structure of the MA domain within the full-length Gag polyprotein. In particular, it will be necessary to understand the structural basis of the interaction of MA with gRNA, host transport factors and membrane phospholipids. A better appreciation of the multiple roles MA plays in genome packaging and Gag localization might guide the development of novel antiviral strategies in the future.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk