Send to

Choose Destination
Retrovirology. 2006 Dec 15;3:92.

Protein methylation is required to maintain optimal HIV-1 infectivity.

Author information

Division of Immunology and Infectious Disease, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane, Queensland, 4006, Australia.



Protein methylation is recognized as a major protein modification pathway regulating diverse cellular events such as protein trafficking, transcription, and signal transduction. More recently, protein arginine methyltransferase activity has been shown to regulate HIV-1 transcription via Tat. In this study, adenosine periodate (AdOx) was used to globally inhibit protein methyltransferase activity so that the effect of protein methylation on HIV-1 infectivity could be assessed.


Two cell culture models were used: HIV-1-infected CEM T-cells and HEK293T cells transfected with a proviral DNA plasmid. In both models, AdOx treatment of cells increased the levels of virion in culture supernatant. However, these viruses had increased levels of unprocessed or partially processed Gag-Pol, significantly increased diameter, and displayed reduced infectivity in a MAGI X4 assay. AdOx reduced infectivity equally in both dividing and non-dividing cells. However, infectivity was further reduced if Vpr was deleted suggesting virion proteins, other than Vpr, were affected by protein methylation. Endogenous reverse transcription was not inhibited in AdOx-treated HIV-1, and infectivity could be restored by pseudotyping HIV with VSV-G envelope protein. These experiments suggest that AdOx affects an early event between receptor binding and uncoating, but not reverse transcription.


Overall, we have shown for the first time that protein methylation contributes towards maximal virus infectivity. Furthermore, our results also indicate that protein methylation regulates HIV-1 infectivity in a complex manner most likely involving the methylation of multiple viral or cellular proteins and/or multiple steps of replication.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center