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Nat Med. 2003 Sep;9(9):1138-43. Epub 2003 Aug 3.

Cyclophilin A modulates the sensitivity of HIV-1 to host restriction factors.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York 10032, USA.


Many mammalian species express restriction factors that confer host resistance to retroviral infection. Here we show that HIV-1 sensitivity to restriction factors is modulated by cyclophilin A (CypA), a host cell protein that binds the HIV-1 capsid protein (CA). In certain nonhuman primate cells, the CA-CypA interaction is essential for restriction: HIV-1 infectivity is increased >100-fold by cyclosporin A (CsA), a competitive inhibitor of the interaction, or by an HIV-1 CA mutation that disrupts CypA binding. Conversely, disruption of CA-CypA interaction in human cells reveals that CypA protects HIV-1 from the Ref-1 restriction factor. These findings suggest that HIV-1 has co-opted a host cell protein to counteract restriction factors expressed by human cells and that this adaptation can confer sensitivity to restriction in unnatural hosts. Manipulation of HIV-1 CA recognition by restriction factors promises to advance animal models and new therapeutic strategies for HIV-1 and AIDS.

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