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Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2009;339:27-45. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-02175-6_2.

Interactions of viral protein U (Vpu) with cellular factors.

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Department of Medicine, University of California-San Diego and the San Diego Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0679, USA.


Viral protein U (Vpu) is encoded by one of several accessory genes of HIV-1. Like the accessory gene products Vif and Vpr, Vpu targets host proteins such as CD4 for degradation via the recruitment of cellular multi-subunit ubiquitin ligases. Vpu also forms ion channels in cellular membranes. Through one or both of these attributes, Vpu antagonizes host cell factors that restrict the release of progeny virions from infected cells. A key target of Vpu has recently been identified as the interferon-induced transmembrane protein BST-2/CD317 (tetherin), which restricts viral replication by retaining nascent virions on the cell surface. The counteraction of this host defense allows Vpu to be considered an antagonist of the innate immune response to viral infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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