Send to

Choose Destination
Virology. 1992 Jan;186(1):25-39.

Analysis of HIV particle formation using transient expression of subviral constructs in mammalian cells.

Author information

Angewandte Tumorvirologie, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Heidelberg, Germany.


Segments of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 gag and pol genes and mutants thereof were transiently expressed in mammalian cells. Expression was dependent on the presence of the rev responsive element in cis and the rev protein in trans and was readily detected by indirect immunofluorescence or Western blotting. Transfection of constructs encoding the entire gag and pol open reading frames yielded efficient release of particles banding at a density of 1.16 g of sucrose per milliliter and consisting mainly of processed gag proteins. In addition, these particles contained the p66/p51 heterodimer of reverse transcriptase (RT), had associated RT activity, and contained RNA. Electron micrographs revealed immature retrovirus-like particles budding primarily from the plasma membrane and extracellular particles with morphological characteristics of HIV. Particle production was independent of the pol open reading frame or an active HIV proteinase (PR) but without active PR, cell-associated and particle-associated proteins remained completely uncleaved and budding occurred primarily into intracellular vacuoles. A mutation preventing myristoylation of the viral polyproteins abolished particle release but did not interfere with polyprotein synthesis and did not prevent processing. Expression of gag and PR in the same reading frame yielded complete processing of polyproteins but no budding and led to increased cell toxicity. A mutation of the PR active site in this construct prevented cytotoxicity and restored particle release indicating that the observed phenotype was caused by the overexpression of PR. These particles were aberrant in size and morphology when analyzed on sucrose density gradients and by electron microscopy. Budding was arrested at an early stage and extracellular particles appeared to be released by a different mechanism. Only short C-terminal extensions were compatible with this release mechanism since expression of a similar mutant construct encoding the entire gag-pol open reading frame did not yield particles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center