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J Virol. 2001 Jun;75(12):5504-17.

Vif is largely absent from human immunodeficiency virus type 1 mature virions and associates mainly with viral particles containing unprocessed gag.

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  • 1Molecular Virology Laboratory, St. Luke's/Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University, New York, New York 10019, USA. ps44@columbia.edu

Abstract

Vif is a human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) protein that is essential for the production of infectious virus. Most of Vif synthesized during HIV infection localizes within cells, and the extent of Vif packaging into virions and its function there remain controversial. Here we show that a small but detectable amount of Vif remains associated with purified virions even after their treatment with the protease subtilisin. However, treatment of these virions with 1% Triton X-100 revealed that most of the virion-associated Vif segregated with detergent-resistant virus particles consisting of unprocessed Gag, indicating that detergent-soluble, mature virions contain very little Vif. To investigate the control of Vif packaging in immature virus particles, we tested its association with Gag-containing virus-like particles (VLPs) in a Vif and Gag coexpression system in human cells. Only a small proportion of Vif molecules synthesized in this system became packaged into VLPs, and the VLP-associated Vif was protected from exogenous protease and detergent treatment, indicating that it is stably incorporated into immature virion-like cores. About 10-fold more Vpr than Vif was packaged into VLPs but most of the VLP-associated Vpr was removed by treatment with detergent. Mutagenesis of the C-terminal sequences in Gag previously shown to be responsible for interaction with Vif did not reduce the extent of Vif packaging into Gag VLPs. Surprisingly, short deletions in the capsid domain (CA) of Gag (amino acid residues 284 to 304 and 350 to 362) increased Vif packaging over 10-fold. The 350 to 363 deletion introduced into CA in HIV provirus also increased Vif incorporation into purified virions. Our results show that Vif can be packaged at low levels into aberrant virus particles or immature virions and that Vif is not present significantly in mature virions. Overall, these results indicate that the Vif content in virions is tightly regulated and also argue against a function of virion-associated Vif.

PMID:
11356958
PMCID:
PMC114263
DOI:
10.1128/JVI.75.12.5504-5517.2001
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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