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Curr Biol. 1999 Nov 4;9(21):1271-4.

Functional interaction between the cytoplasmic leucine-zipper domain of HIV-1 gp41 and p115-RhoGEF.

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The Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, School of Medicine, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.


The long cytoplasmic tail of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 transmembrane protein gp41 (gp41C) is implicated in the replication and cytopathicity of HIV-1 [1]. Little is known about the specific functions of gp41C, however. HIV-1 or simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) mutants with defective gp41C have cell-type- or species-dependent phenotypes [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]. Thus, host factors are implicated in mediating the functions of gp41C. We report here that gp41C interacted with the carboxy-terminal regulatory domain of p115-RhoGEF [7], a specific guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) and activator of the RhoA GTPase, which regulates actin stress fiber formation, activation of serum response factor (SRF) and cell proliferation [8] [9]. We demonstrate that gp41C inhibited p115-mediated actin stress fiber formation and activation of SRF. An amphipathic helix region with a leucine-zipper motif in gp41C is involved in its interaction with p115. Mutations in gp41C leading to loss of interaction with p115 impaired HIV-1 replication in human T cells. These findings suggest that an important function of gp41C is to modulate the activity of p115-RhoGEF and they thus reveal a new potential anti-HIV-1 target.

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