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Virology. 2001 May 10;283(2):253-61.

Domains in the simian immunodeficiency virus gp41 cytoplasmic tail required for envelope incorporation into particles.

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Centro de VirologĂ­a Animal (CEVAN-CONICET), Serrano 669, (C1414DEM) Buenos Aires, Argentina.


The mechanism by which lentivirus envelope (Env) glycoproteins are packaged into budding virions is poorly understood. Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) contains an Env protein with an unusually long cytoplasmic tail. To investigate the role of this domain in the incorporation of the SIV Env into virions, we generated a series of SIV Env mutants carrying small in-frame deletions within the cytoplasmic domain. The effects of these mutations on Env synthesis, processing, and association with Gag particles were analyzed by means of the vaccinia virus expression system. All of the mutant Env glycoproteins were synthesized and processed in a manner similar to that of the wild-type Env. However, deletions affecting domains C-terminal to residue 832 in the SIV Env protein significantly impaired Env incorporation into particles. Cell surface biotinylation assays showed that this phenotype could not be attributed to inefficient cell surface expression of the Env mutants. Furthermore, when the Env deletion mutants were tested for their ability to mediate virus entry in single-cycle infectivity assays, those mutations that impaired Env incorporation also caused a severe defect in virus infectivity. Our results suggest that domains in the C-terminal third of the SIV Env protein are required for Env incorporation into particles and Env-mediated virus entry.

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