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PLoS Pathog. 2007 Oct 26;3(10):1502-10.

Evidence for direct involvement of the capsid protein in HIV infection of nondividing cells.

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Division of Human Biology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, USA.


HIV and other lentiviruses can productively infect nondividing cells, whereas most other retroviruses, such as murine leukemia virus, require cell division for efficient infection. However, the determinants for this phenotype have been controversial. Here, we show that HIV-1 capsid (CA) is involved in facilitating HIV infection of nondividing cells because amino acid changes on CA severely disrupt the cell-cycle independence of HIV. One mutant in the N-terminal domain of CA in particular has lost the cell-cycle independence in all cells tested, including primary macrophages. The defect in this mutant appears to be at a stage past nuclear entry. We also find that the loss of cell-cycle independence can be cell-type specific, which suggests that a cellular factor affects the ability of HIV to infect nondividing cells. Our data suggest that CA is directly involved at some step in the viral life cycle that is important for infection of nondividing cells.

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