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J Virol. 2011 Oct;85(20):10627-38. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00757-11. Epub 2011 Aug 17.

Inhibition of retromer activity by herpesvirus saimiri tip leads to CD4 downregulation and efficient T cell transformation.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and Tumor Virology Division, New England Primate Research Center, Harvard Medical School, Southborough, Massachusetts 01772-9102, USA.


The mammalian retromer is an evolutionally conserved protein complex composed of a vacuolar protein sorting trimer (Vps 26/29/35) that participates in cargo recognition and a sorting nexin (SNX) dimer that binds to endosomal membranes. The retromer plays an important role in efficient retrograde transport for endosome-to-Golgi retrieval of the cation-independent mannose-6-phosphate receptor (CI-MPR), a receptor for lysosomal hydrolases, and other endosomal proteins. This ultimately contributes to the control of cell growth, cell adhesion, and cell migration. The herpesvirus saimiri (HVS) tyrosine kinase-interacting protein (Tip), required for the immortalization of primary T lymphocytes, targets cellular signaling molecules, including Lck tyrosine kinases and the p80 endosomal trafficking protein. Despite the pronounced effects of HVS Tip on T cell signal transduction, the details of its activity on T cell immortalization remain elusive. Here, we report that the amino-terminal conserved, glutamate-rich sequence of Tip specifically interacts with the retromer subunit Vps35 and that this interaction not only causes the redistribution of Vps35 from the early endosome to the lysosome but also drastically inhibits retromer activity, as measured by decreased levels of CI-MPR and lower activities of cellular lysosomal hydrolases. Physiologically, the inhibition of intracellular retromer activity by Tip is ultimately linked to the downregulation of CD4 surface expression and to the efficient in vitro immortalization of primary human T cells to interleukin-2 (IL-2)-independent permanent growth. Therefore, HVS Tip uniquely targets the retromer complex to impair the intracellular trafficking functions of infected cells, ultimately contributing to efficient T cell transformation.

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