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Retrovirology. 2009 Mar 11;6:28. doi: 10.1186/1742-4690-6-28.

A role for CD81 on the late steps of HIV-1 replication in a chronically infected T cell line.

Author information

LaboRetro, Unité de Virologie Humaine INSERM U758, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, Lyon, France.



HIV-1 uses cellular co-factors for virion formation and release. The virus is able to incorporate into the viral particles host cellular proteins, such as tetraspanins which could serve to facilitate HIV-1 egress. Here, we investigated the implication of several tetraspanins on HIV-1 formation and release in chronically infected T-lymphoblastic cells, a model that permits the study of the late steps of HIV-1 replication.


Our data revealed that HIV-1 Gag and Env structural proteins co-localized with tetraspanins in the form of clusters. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments showed that Gag proteins interact, directly or indirectly, with CD81, and less with CD82, in tetraspanin-enriched microdomains composed of CD81/CD82/CD63. In addition, when HIV-1 producing cells were treated with anti-CD81 antibodies, or upon CD81 silencing by RNA interference, HIV-1 release was significantly impaired, and its infectivity was modulated. Finally, CD81 downregulation resulted in Gag redistribution at the cell surface.


Our findings not only extend the notion that HIV-1 assembly can occur on tetraspanin-enriched microdomains in T cells, but also highlight a critical role for the tetraspanin CD81 on the late steps of HIV replication.

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